It is not surprising that rural representatives are particularly opposed to extension proposals. Whether that opposition is based on principles of good local government, or apprehension about the capacity to deliver local services on a reduced county income, requires a subjective decision. In any event, just like Stormont, the matter may be decided by direct rule. The implementation group is to meet this week and they will make recommendations that will form the basis of the electoral areas for local elections in 2019. Not quiet game, set and match, but pretty close.
Even if you set aside reasonable doubts about the need for two authorities, it seems that political ambition, Stormont-like again, rather than common sense, prevails.