Cluxton clincher 'moment' of year
Published 21/12/2011 | 05:00
Stephen Cluxton's dramatic injury time free against Kerry in the All-Ireland football final has been voted the most iconic sporting moment of the year.
But Gaelic games is trailing a long way behind soccer as the nation's favourite sport and is now in danger of being overtaken by rugby.
The Dublin goalkeeper's dramatic winning point deep in injury-time at Croke Park was chosen as the moment of the year by over 20pc of those surveyed, with Ulsterman Darren Clarke's putt for victory at the British Open at Royal St George coming in second with 17.5pc.
The Pembroke Communications Sports Sentiment Index found that soccer tops the list of the nation's best loved sporting pastimes, well ahead of Gaelic games and rugby.
Soccer was the favourite sport for 30.9pc of those polled, with Gaelic games at 20.9pc, just marginally ahead of rugby at 20.5pc.
Despite the dominance of soccer, Leinster and Irish rugby star Brian O'Driscoll is the country's favourite sporting star with 16.7pc support.
Golfer and US Open champion Rory McIlory came in a close second to Mr O'Driscoll at 16.3pc, followed by boxing sensation Katie Taylor at 13.1pc.
The Sports Sentiment Index also found that qualification for Euro 2012, the country's first major championship in almost a decade and first European Championships since 1988, is seen as the most outstanding sporting achievement in 2011 by 23.7pc.
This was followed by Ireland's win over Australia in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand at 13.9pc; Rory McIlroy's US Open win at the Congressional in June at 10.2pc and Dublin's first All-Ireland senior football title since 1995 at 9.4pc.
With an action packed 2012 ahead, one of the main events in the public's consciousness is the 2012 Olympics as 27.3pc of people are most looking forward to the Games in London.
Mick O'Keeffe, Pembroke Communications managing director and a former Dublin footballer, said the research proves that Ireland is a nation of sports lovers.
"Soccer has an enormous fan base with relentless media exposure," he said.
"Rugby is clearly established as a national sport of huge appeal after a decade of success, while GAA remains as strong and vibrant as ever, which is an enormous achievement for our home grown indigenous games."