Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will fight it out to take top spot in the local elections as the votes are counted over the next few days, according to the RED C exit poll for RTÉ and TG4.

This was the big prize for Fianna Fáil in 2014 when it won 267 seats compared to 235 for Fine Gael.

However this poll suggests the party's first preference support is level with Fine Gael this time, although there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

Overall though, both parties look to have dropped support and they each stand at 23%, the polling data indicates.

That figure is some way off what Fine Gael had in mind when it spoke about winning 50 extra council seats just a few weeks ago.

Again, the big winners are the Green Party, which this poll suggests could hit the 9% mark.

That is some surge compared to five years ago when 1.6% support delivered 12 seats. This time the party has just over 80 candidates and major gains look likely.

Sinn Féin's support is measured at 12%. That is down three points on 2014, but it is within the 3% margin of error.

Labour's vote looks to have stagnated at 6%, which is bad news for the party as it hoped to breathe new life into its ranks in these elections.

The Independent vote looks healthy on 15%, while a plethora of smaller parties and groupings including Solidarity-PBP, Independents4Change and the Independent Alliance are all on 2%.

The Social Democrats is on 3% while the newest party, Aontú, is on 1%.