Sinn Fein now top dog as Wells left the sole unionist
Sinn Fein's triumph was mirrored in its overwhelming success in South Down.
Sinead Ennis (33) was among the newcomers, topping the poll ahead of colleague Chris Hazzard, with 10,256 first preference votes. The pair were elected on the first count.
It was a count tinged with sadness for the SDLP. Sinead Bradley secured a solid win on the same day she buried her father, party stalwart PJ Bradley.
Losing the majority vote to Sinn Fein was a big blow for the party, which managed to squeeze Colin McGrath into the final seat, just ahead of a Alliance's Patrick Brown.
While the DUP's Jim Wells - elected with 7,786 first preferences - earlier predicted the party would secure 32 seats, he paid tribute to Ulster Unionist Harold McKee, who lost out, leaving Mr Wells as the only unionist MLA in South Down.