It was a short night for Sinn Féin candidates at least at the count centres. 

Many have already been easily elected on the first counts and will be well into their celebrations, or putting their feet up, while others endure anxious and long waits at count centres throughout the night.

Sinn Féin candidates are on course to top the polls in up to 30 constituencies. In some they had surpluses that are rare in Irish politics - largely because they have no party colleagues to share them with.

The destination of their surpluses is, so far, the great unknown of this election and will dictate where the final seat numbers lie. Here are some constituencies where the Sinn Féin surpluses will be key:


This two-county constituency was previously separated and, on either side, Barry Cowen or Sean Fleming have enjoyed huge vote shares.

In 2016 Cowen got 28% of first preferences in Offaly with Fleming getting 32% - one of the highest vote shares in the country.

The expectation was that both could bring in a running mate this time around leaving Fianna Fáil with three seats in this five-seater.

But Sinn Féin's Brian Stanley has gobbled up first preferences in both countries coming in with 16,600 first preferences with a whopping 5,000 to spare.

When these are distributed, they're likely to help the Independent TD, Carol Nolan, who was elected for Sinn Féin in 2016 but left the part in 2018 because of the party's position on abortion.

On the first count, she is 4,000 shy of the quota. Her success - with the help of her old party - would be at the expense of Fianna Fáil's much desired third seat.

Dublin Central:

The Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, received what was described as Bertie-level share of the vote in the former Taoiseach's old stomping ground.

She got 11,223 which is almost 5,000 above the quota. A cross-party analysis of her second preferences shows that the big beneficiary is the former Dublin Lord Mayor, Independent Christy Burke, who received 37% of her transfers. 

But with just 1,500 on the first count he is probably too far behind to catch up at this point. This means that Gary Gannon of the Social Democrats who is on 2,900 on the first count, but who looks likely to get 14% of Ms McDonald's second transfers, is well in the mix.

Cork North Central:

In Jack Lynch country Fianna Fáil thought it could be in with an outside chance of taking two out of four seats.  But Sinn Féin's transfers could upset that plan.

Thomas Gould who ran for Sinn Féin in the by-election here in November has topped the poll with 3,500 votes to spare which are now being distributed.

Fianna Fáil's Pádraig O'Sullivan is in second place while Fine Gael's Colm Burke is in third. After that, there are just over 500 votes separating Solidarity's Mick Barry, Independent Kenneth O'Flynn, Fianna Fáil's Tony Fitzgerald and the Green Party's Oliver Moran -setting the scene for one hell of a dog fight.

Fianna Fáil had hoped to benefit from its third candidate, Sandra Murphy, when she is eliminated. But Gould's transfers are likely to give the Solidarity TD, Mick Barry, the edge for taking the final seat, doing Fianna Fáil out of one of their prizes.

Dublin Bay North:

Sinn Féin's Denise Mitchell has come in with a phenomenal 21,334 first preference votes here. That gives her almost two quotas and 9,400 votes which are being distributed. 

Like in Dublin Central, this is likely to benefit the Social Democrats. Their candidate there, Cian O'Callaghan has 6,229 votes on the first count and appears to be contending with the Green Party's David Healy for the final seat.

Sinn Féin surpluses will almost certainly put him ahead, and could even see him overtake Labour's Aodhán O'Ríordáin.

Dublin South West:

Just this morning people were writing off TD Paul Murphy when he came in at around six per cent, or seventh place in the tallies.

After the first count Murphy had 4,477 first preferences, behind the Green Party's Francis Noel Duffy.

But he rose right up on the second count after picking up 3,444 transfers from Sinn Féin's Seán Crowe.

Crowe had a surplus of almost 9,000 votes after being elected on the first count and almost 40 per cent of them went to Mr Murphy putting him firmly in contention.

The analysis before this election suggested that left leaning TDs in Dublin could find themselves squeezed out by the Greens. But in fact, the Sinn Fein storm looks set to rescue many.