McCarthy thought to be ahead in battle for Munster
Voting in the election for Munster IFA chairman concluded on Thursday with the branch delegates in the home counties of the three candidates, Waterford, Kerry and Limerick, casting their votes.
Soundings from the electorate suggest that Kerry dairy farmer, James McCarthy, moved ahead in the final two weeks of the intensive campaign and is odds-on among the membership to lead on the first count.
The real battle for former Limerick county chairman, Eddie Scanlan and national dairy chairman, Kevin Kiersey of Waterford, is to avoid being eliminated after the first count.
Whoever survives must hope the transfer of votes will be robust enough to overcome Mr McCarthy's lead and get the surviving candidate over the line.
Apart from Kerry, James McCarthy is believed to have polled strongly in West Cork and made inroads into the Clare vote, which he largely shared with Eddie Scanlan, who should have solid backing from the 200 plus Limerick delegates, plus a strong showing in Tipperary.
Kevin Kiersey's position as national dairy chairman for the past four years was expected to make him the frontrunner, but he encountered difficulty securing large parts of the Cork vote, despite holding his own county and doing well in South Tipperary.
The carve-up of the sizeable Cork Central and Cork North vote between the three candidates will be the decider as to who becomes the first holder of the new office.
The position of chairman in the other regions has not been contested.