Kelly gets re-elected as Kelleher and Wallace lead in battle for transfers
Outgoing Fine Gael MEP and former GAA president Seán Kelly was re-elected to the European Parliament on the ninth count in the Ireland South constituency.
The Kerry politician topped the poll with 118,444 votes - but had to wait almost 24 hours and nine counts to secure the extra 1,422 ballots needed to reach the quota.
Mr Kelly - who was in the Nemo Rangers GAA count centre in Cork - said he was "absolutely ecstatic".
"I honoured the party's election strategy, I worked hard in Europe over the past five years and that makes this day all the more special.
"I am so grateful to my election team," he said.
Mr Kelly said he was hoping his running mate Deirdre Clune MEP would also be returned to Brussels.
Former Fianna Fáil Junior Minister Billy Kelleher appears poised to take a European Parliament berth. He is approaching 90,000 votes, having polled second overall in first preference ballots to Mr Kelly.
However, a battle is under way between five candidates for the final three seats.
Fine Gael MEP Ms Clune, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada, Wexford-based Independent TD Mick Wallace, Senator Grace O'Sullivan of the Green Party and Councillor Malcolm Byrne, of Fianna Fáil, now all face a marathon battle for transfers.
Just 17,000 votes separate the five candidates - with transfers from Minister Andrew Doyle (39,000) and Labour's Sheila Nunan (23,000) likely to prove crucial today.
The major surprise of the campaign in Ireland South was Mr Wallace. He came third overall in first preferences and is currently neck-and-neck with Mr Kelleher.
Shortly after 11am today, Labour's Sheila Nunan and Fine Gael's Minister Andrew Doyle were eliminated in a dramatic development in the Ireland South count. The remaining four seats are now expected to be filled this evening.