Former Ireland rugby star Hugo MacNeill has topped the poll in the Seanad byelection.
However, security analyst Tom Clonan and psychologist Maureen Gaffney are not far behind after the first count.
The result indicates a close race to win the seat with much depending on the pattern of transfers between candidates as the count continues on Thursday.
In total, 17 candidates entered the race for the seat is in the University of Dublin constituency left vacant by the election to the Dáil last year of Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik.
Voting in the constituency is limited to just under 68,000 graduates of Trinity College Dublin (TCD).
The total number of ballots returned was 13,434, amounting to a turnout of just under 20 per cent.
The valid poll was 13,418 and the quota is 6,710.
Mr MacNeill got 2,068 first preference votes followed by Mr Clonan on 1,947 and Ms Gaffney on 1,882.
Former lord mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu got 1,766 votes and doctoral student Ursula Quill - who previously worked as Ms Bacik's assistant when she was in the Seanad - got 1,156 votes.
Entrepenuer Aubrey McCarthy got 947 first preferences and Sadhbh O’Neill, an assistant professor at DCU, got 870.
Catherine Stocker, a Social Democrats councillor in Dublin, got 521 votes.
Businessman Ali O’Shea got 38 votes and was eliminated.
His transfers will be distributed when counting resumes on Thursday morning.