Brand Hildegarde - cometh the hour?

Hildegarde Naughton.

Hildegarde Naughton.

The best footballers operate with a single name.

Pele, Ronaldo, Neymar.

Prince was never the same once he became the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

And then there’s..

Hildegarde.

It is as if her surname is an irrelevance.

My seven-year-old daughter spotted the name on a poster and has been repeating it for days.

It’s catchy and "remember-able"

It is brand friendly, voter friendly. Her poster campaigns and her cardboard cutouts worked a treat.

Now here in the Count Centre, there is a perceived wisdom that she may be about to take a seat here in Galway West/Mayo South because she will receive decent transfers in the counts in the hours ahead.

She is gathering votes from across the spectrum. Even from those who did not want to support the coalition.

The next few counts will determine if she will make it. She should benefit from Healy Eames transfers and benefit from the huge vote base in the city. But will the O Clochartaigh transfers fall off a cliff? And will Hildegarde get enough O Tuathail transfers. Questions to which there are no answers yet.

At the outset of the campaign, with Walsh and Kyne and O’Mahon in the field, she wasn’t given a prayer.

But those who have worked with her say that she has been a dream to work with. Her ability to press the flesh and do the smoozing comes from a lifetime spent on stages in the city.

Her sterling work the Special Olympics brought her into contact with a lot of people who were impressed with her quiet ability to get things done.

As Mayor during the most recent Galway Volvo Ocean Race, she represented the city so well, to the extent that her popularity straddled party boundaries.

Her detractors say she does not have a body of work to fall back upon.

But then there is the case that sometimes a body of work if unfinished can be a hindrance.

The withdrawal of Brian Walsh left a glaring hole in the FG team. That she has managed to fill it is a testament to her growing political nous. And to do it at a time when her party was dropping in the polls is even more remarkable.

The next few counts will be telling for Brand Hildegarde.

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