THE daughter of a county councillor became a surprise contender to replace Defence Minister Tony Killeen on the Fianna Fail ticket in Clare.
But Mr Killeen's retirement places the party under immense pressure to try to hold on to its two seats in the Fianna Fail heartland of Eamon de Valera.
Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley will be contesting again and his running mate is expected to come from the north or western part of the constituency.
Local party sources said Marina Keane, a daughter of Clare County Councillor Patrick Keane, was a possible candidate for running mate.
But sitting councillors Bill Chambers and Michael Hillery were also being mentioned as contenders. Ms Keane is from Kilkee in west Clare, where she is secretary of the local housing association.
In the current climate, Fianna Fail will struggle to hold two seats. But the absence of Mr Killeen, a popular and well-established TD, means their realistic goal will presently be one seat.
Independent James Breen is well-placed to capitalise on his former party's woes.
Mr Breen served as a TD from 2002 to 2007 and remains a threat to return.