Ireland set for more Eurovision misery at controversial contest in Israel
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Ireland set for more Eurovision misery at controversial contest in Israel

IRELAND LOOKS set for more Eurovision misery with this year’s entry tipped to score badly in the annual competition.

The Emerald Isle has won Eurovision a record seven times since its debut in 1956.

However, it’s been 23 years since Ireland last tasted victory at Eurovision with Eimear Quinn in 1996.

Since then Ireland has endured a barren run, with the notable low point coming in 2008, when Ireland failed to even progress past the competition’s semi-final stage.

That year’s effort came courtesy of the popular TV puppet Dustin the Turkey with Irelande Douze Pointe, a song that remains as something of a stain on Ireland’s record.

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It’s not looking good for Ireland in 2019 though, with Oddsmonkey pricing this year’s entrant, Sarah McTernan, at a whopping 150/1 to win in Israel with her song 22.

McTernan’s chances haven’t been helped by talk of a potential boycott – something that was openly criticised by Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Ophir Kariv.

Ireland are currently the rank outsiders to win with even the UK, who regularly score badly in the competition, better priced.

This year’s UK effort comes from Hartlepool singer Michael Rice whose track Bigger Than Us has won plenty of fans but looks unlikely to win with odds of 100/1 available.

While Eurovision has thrown up some shocks over the years, its rare for a big outsider to take home the crown.

One of the most notable came in 2006 when Finnish demonic rock band Lordi won the competition but even they were only 10/1 with the bookmakers.

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The biggest price winner happened in 2016 when Ukraine with Jamala took the victory at 20/1. Before that the biggest shock was in 2011 when Azerbaijan won at 12/1 with Ell & Nikki, that same year the favourite France flopped massively finishing a lowly 15th.

The Netherlands are the frontrunners this time around with a song Arcade performed by Duncan Laurence.

It has the clear front-runner and is now as short as 9/4 to win, which would be the shortest price winner in years.

Laurence is a popular figure in Holland and made the semi-finals on their version of The Voice, and they hope he can be the first Dutch entry to win since 1975.

Since markets opened on Eurovision, Russia had been the favourites with Sergey Lazarev with his song Scream.

This is Lazarev’s second attempt at the event having finished third in Stockholm in 2016 with You Are The Only One – but he is now out to 13/2, behind both France and Sweden.

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And the favourites should be respected as only once has the last decade has the favourite finished outside the top-four.

“Whilst the market looks wide-open as ever for Eurovision, our research does show that the favourites do perform well and are always in contention,” OddsMonkey spokesman Peter Watton said.

“Duncan Laurence is not an unknown in Europe, he already has something of a fan base, as does Russia’s Sergey Lazarev – so they both should be respected.

“And whilst we may like Michael Rice – he looks to have a huge task on his hands to deliver the UK's first win this century.”