Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Eurovision Song Contest: Ireland’s Odds To Win In Malmo

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Charlie Mullan

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Eurovision Song Contest: Ireland's Odds To Win In Malmo

There was a time when Ireland could do no wrong in the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Johnny Logan won the contest twice as a singer in 1980 with ‘What’s Another Year’ and 1987 with the song ‘Hold Me Now’, as well writing ‘Why Me?’ for Linda Martin who won in 1992.

Along with Sweden, Ireland has won the competition a record seven times, but their impressive seven titles in 26 years from 1970 to 1996 will take some beating.

However, Irish fortunes have taken a turn for the worst to the point that Logan’s Midas touch wouldn’t help these days, and you won’t find Ireland near the top of any markets on new betting sites.

A dreadful run of just one final appearance in nine contests has undone the good work done by Ireland in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. 

This year, Ireland will be represented by Bambie Thug singing ‘Doomsday Blue’ and the country is trading at around 66/1 on specials betting sites to win an eighth Eurovision Song Contest title. 

It’s unlikely Irish eyes be smiling in Malmo on May 11. Firstly, they need to qualify from the semi-final. The Irish will be part of the first semi-final, where they are 33/1 to finish top of Tuesday’s leaderboard. 

Time For Ireland To Take It Seriously

Ireland was the dominant nation in the Eurovision Song Contest for almost three decades. Four wins in five tears, included a three-peat from 1992 through to 1994 made their rivals green with envy.

However, the memories of those halcyon days in the 1990s are fading fast. To not come close to winning since finishing second in 1997 is a shock to a nation that took pride in the competition.

When the well ran dry for Ireland in the 1990s, jokes were made that because of the cost of hosting were too high, the country deliberately jeopardised their chances of winning. 

Ireland Finishing Position

You only have to look at the 2008 entry for evidence that supports that argument. Dustin The Turkey, a popular TV puppet, represented Ireland with ‘Irelande Douze Points’, but failed to qualify for the final. 

Twins Jedward took to the stage three years later, who did qualify for the final, and finished eighth. That remains Ireland’s highest finish since 2001.

It’s time for Ireland to take the competition seriously again. It might be a year or two before the Emerald Isle gets to host another Eurovision again, but if they take it seriously, then who knows?

Ireland Hanging On To Top-10 Spot

Despite not having a top-three finish since 1997, Ireland remain 10th in the all-time table for total points scored.

However, there is a chance they lose their place in the top echelon of the competition this year from a number of countries.

In particular, Spain are breathing down their neck. The Spanish are just 71 points short of Ireland’s total which includes jury votes and televoting. 

According to UK betting sites, Spain will struggle to impress the juries across Europe this year.

All-Time Points

The contest has changed considerably since 1997, which marked the end of Ireland’s joy. 

Places in the final have to be earned via qualification from the semi-finals, unless you are one of the ‘Big-5’ of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

In 1997, 25 countries took part, while this year’s contest will see 37 countries participate and it’s taken Ireland a while to build relationships with some of these new countries.

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Improvements Needed Way Out East

Since Eimear Quinn finished top the leaderboard with ‘The Voice’ in 1996, 48 points clear of Norway in second place, 17 countries have made their debuts at the Eurovision Song Contest.

With the exception of Australia, who had their application to join the party accepted in 2015, the other 16 are eastern countries formed following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of communism and the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the USSR.

Remarkably, Ireland have found it difficult to win over these countries, with a total of just 43 points given to them from these countries in the last 26 years.

All-Time Points

Latvia have accounted for 21 of those 43 points and 10 of those countries have yet to give the Irish any points, so far. 

Ireland on the other hand have sent 226 points the other way to these countries, with Latvia (65), Ukraine (46) and Bulgaria (26) the biggest recipients.

Can’t Rely On Old Favourites

Ireland have done well to maintain their relationship with established countries in the Eurovision Song Contest, but they can’t afford to rely on them for points forever, if they want to get their hands on the glass microphone trophy.

Like most countries taking part in the contest, the best partnership Ireland has, is with its nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom.

While giving the UK 205 points, a total of 220 has come back the other way.

All-Time Points

Second on the list is Sweden (206), who along with the Irish, share the most wins by any country with seven.

Switzerland is Ireland’s third most giving nation with 162 points, while Norway (152) and Austria (148) complete the five countries that have given Ireland the most points over the years. 

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