Priests are Xmas chart contenders

London, UK - Three priests from Northern Ireland are among the favourites for the coveted Christmas number one spot, just months after signing a £1m record deal.

Father Eugene O'Hagan, 48, his brother Martin, 45, and David Delargy, 44, known simply as 'The Priests', have parishes in Down and Connor diocese.

Ladbrokes is offering odds of 25/1 on the trio hitting the festive top spot.

Any money the group makes will be given to charity, but this will presumably not stop punters having a flutter.

"It's humbling to be included in such an august musical list however, generally we think that people's money would be better spent by buying whatever music lifts their spirits for Xmas", read a statement from The Priests.

Signed to Sony BMG, the musical clerics have a special exemption in their contract, which allows them to break off from promotional duties to deal with parish work such as presiding over funerals.

Their self-titled debut album is released at the end of November.

Even if The Priests do not reach the top spot, Northern Ireland is still challenging for the prestigious Christmas number one on several fronts.

Comedian Peter Kay's comic creation Geraldine McQueen, the transsexual dinner lady from County Tyrone, is third favourite behind Take That at 16/1 to win.

Funny man Kay and Take That frontman Gary Barlow again teamed up again up to co-write the very seasonal 'Once Upon a Christmas Song'.

Meanwhile, Londonderry's Nadine Coyle will be hoping that 20/1 shot Girls Aloud can follow up their recent chart success at Christmas, and Dungiven schoolboy Eoghan Quigg is still in with a fighting chance of winning the X Factor.

The X Factor winner has been number one at Christmas for the past three years in a row, and if Quigg eventually wins the television contest, he would be the overwhelming favourite at 1/10.