As the curtain goes up on election, it is make or break for gang of four
Jim Gavin, Dublin's football supremo, has a simple but powerful message for his players before big showdowns: "Be the best that you can be." It's enough to win.
It is not a big leap to suggest that the same fixed focus, composure under pressure, and the delivery of talent in key moments applies to party leaders on the eve of a fiercely fought election. On their shoulders rest the hopes, ambitions and responsibility for their team's success. Campaigns, after all, are pretty much presidential in style and substance.
There is a format which is followed faithfully. The score card is marked by the following: leaders' TV debates, keynote media interviews for every station and newspaper, constituency tours, and the careful dissemination of daily soundbites.