Thursday 15 November 2018

Katie voted Ireland's most admired athlete of the year

Boxer Katie Taylor has been named Ireland’s most admired star. Photo: Tony Gavin
Boxer Katie Taylor has been named Ireland’s most admired star. Photo: Tony Gavin
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Love him or hate him, but Conor McGregor's controversial boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr was voted Ireland's most memorable sporting moment by a survey run by Teneo Sports and Ignite Research.

The Sporting Index for 2017 saw 1,000 people across the country surveyed, with quotas imposed across gender, region, age and social class.

Each person who undertook the survey was given a list of choices as well as an option to specify an 'other' event. The results found are the view of the general public as opposed to just sports fans.

McGregor's Las Vegas showdown with Mayweather drew plenty of criticism from boxing aficionados but the Irish public voted it the clear winner with 26pc of the overall vote.

Showdown

That was double what second-placed James McClean managed for his dramatic late goal in Cardiff that won Ireland a World Cup play-off spot.

Interestingly, the women's rugby World Cup final that saw New Zealand beat England was ranked third, despite Ireland having disastrously crashed out at the pool stages.

McGregor was however knocked off top spot as Ireland's most admired star as a full-time boxer, Katie Taylor, usurped him.

Taylor has made remarkable progress since turning professional and she picked up 21pc of the vote in a list that featured Johnny Sexton (5pc), Joe Canning (4pc), Aidan O'Brien (4pc) as well as McGregor (8pc).

Taylor's popularity amongst the nation was also reflected in the greatest sporting achievement category as she was again a clear winner with 16pc of the vote.

The Bray native winning the WBA lightweight world championship saw off competition from Galway's league and championship hurling double (9pc), Dublin footballers' All-Ireland win (8pc), Ireland rugby team's record win against South Africa (7pc) and Martin O'Neill's side's win in Wales.

On that note, soccer remains the most popular sport in the country with Gaelic games pipping rugby into second.

In terms of the coming year, the Irish public are most looking forward to Galway and Dublin defending their respective All-Ireland titles. Ireland may have missed out on next summer's World Cup in Russia but 23pc of the overall vote still went to the tournament.

"This is the eighth year of this research amongst the general public," Kelli O'Keeffe, managing director of Teneo Sports, commented.

"In a lot of people's opinions female sports in this country crossed the Rubicon in the last 12 months. It's also clear that the phenomenon that is Conor McGregor is growing and bridging age divides.

"Sport is all about opinion and I have no doubt that TV exposure, publicity, hype and media coverage plays a huge part in informing the public."

Irish Independent

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