DUP's Paul Givan tops the poll in Lagan Valley
LISBURN Leisureplex is the setting for 16 candidates in Lagan Valley to make a splash or be left floundering in the centre's swimming pool.
Counting is well underway in the unionist battlefield with several candidates already looking certain of a seat in Stormont.
The DUP strike force are out in action with the party hoping to replicate their impressive performance in Lagan Valley during the last assembly election. The party are gunning for four of the six seats on offer.
Paul Givan of the DUP topped the poll with 5,364 votes, just shy of the 5,551 quota.
Edwin Poots, who was first over the line in the 2011 assembly election, polled 4,638 first preference votes, while his DUP party colleagues Brenda Hale polled very well also with 4,236 votes and Jonathan Craig securing 4,087.
The UUP are hoping to produce a fight back of epic proportions in Lagan Valley with the recruitment of DUP whistleblower Jenny Palmer as one of their weapons as well as Lisburn councillor Robbie Butler.
Mr Butler polled well and secured 4,376 first preference votes, while Ms Palmer who was welcomed into the UUP fold in September after leaving the DUP, polled 3,871.
Her former party had moved to discipline her following controversy over an alleged attempt by a Stormont adviser to change the way she intended to vote at a Housing Executive board meeting.
She was duly recruited by UUP leader Mike Nesbitt in a bid to dent the DUP's domination of unionist politics.
Trevor Lunn secured 3,707 first preference votes, while popular SDLP candidate Pat Catney, a former publican, secured 2,899 votes.
He is likely to attract more second preference votes from unionists and Alliance voters in this constituency than his republican rival Jacqui McGeogh.
What will be interesting is where the Basil McCrea vote will go. Mr McCrea was elected under the UUP banner in the 2011 assembly election, but later left the party to set up the now defunct NI21.
Mr McCrea is not running this time round after revealing he had become disillusioned with politics in Northern Ireland.