Monday 11 November 2019

Who is Ireland's richest sportsperson?

Irish golfer Rory McIlroy
Irish golfer Rory McIlroy
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

2014 was an incredible year for Rory McIlroy, and the Irish golfer is now Ireland's wealthiest sports star currently playing.

The Rich list 2015 was today published in the Sunday Independent, highlighting the 300 wealthiest Irish people who have amassed a combined fortune of €84.4 billion.

So who are Ireland's wealthiest sports stars?

John Magnier (€970m)

Corkman John Magnier (67) — known as ‘The Boss’ — has made hundreds of millions in bloodstock and horse-breeding at his innovative Tipperary-based Coolmore stud.

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John Magnier of Coolmore Stud

Outside of his bloodstock interests, Magnier is a canny investor, owning a stake in the €600m Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, a €245m share of the M&B pub chain as well as an interest in Barchester — one of the largest nursing home chains in the UK.

Eddie Irvine (€77m)

Coming in at 170 on the list overall and leading the way from a sporting front is former Formula One driver Eddie Irvine.

The Northern Ireland man was paid around €45m when driving for Jordan, Jaguar and Ferrari in the 1990s. He reinvented himself as a high-end property developer and investor.

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Eddie Irvine

In 2013, he capitalised on an improving market to sell three Florida homes worth €27m as well as a €5.5m beach house. He put his luxury home in Dalkey on the market last year with a price tag of €4m — previously it had been on sale for €6.5m. There are properties in Dublin, Milan, Ibiza and the Caribbean, where he’s developing a luxury complex on the Exuma islands. He has talked about fighting off a shark encountered in the seas of his island paradise.

Irvine has also invested in Jenkinson shipping in Northern Ireland, the Eddie Irvine Sports complex in Bangor and an online printing group. There have also been the usual trappings of an international playboy, including the €16m superyacht Anaconda (formerly owned by Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu), a Dassault Falcon, Ferraris and an AS 350 helicopter.

Rory McIlroy (€68m)

In early 2013, having won two Majors, Rory McIlroy signed the biggest deal in history, linking up with Nike in a €190m 10-year deal. His on-course earnings passed €33.4m And then things got messy.

A bitter lawsuit with management team Horizon saw him agree to pay a reputed €22m settlement in February 2015, drastically reducing his gains for the year. He also signed significant deals with Bose, the audio equipment company, and Omega, the luxury Swiss watch manufacturers.

Forbes estimates that he earned €21.23m last year making him the 35th highest paid sportsman in the world. Outside golf, he made decent wedge when a stake in Sunseeker yachts paid off as a Chinese group bought the firm for €350m. He has also put money into tax-driven property investments in the UK, backing a hotel deal in Birmingham and a docklands development scheme in Liverpool. McIlroy owns a $10.9m beach side mansion in Florida.

Eddie Jordan (€63m)

Dubliner Eddie Jordan (66) took delivery of a €43m 155-foot long Sunseeker superyacht last May.

It came with a full-length bar, a nightclub and five bedrooms. The yacht is Jordan’s ninth in 29 years.

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Eddie Jordan

He made his money from Formula One, setting up the Jordan racing team in 1991, ultimately selling out for a combined €75m in 2005. Jordan has made good money from investments with Mayfair hedge fund Clareville capital, where he serves as a director.

Its Pegasus fund returned 63pc in 2013. Jordan also has an interest in Madara Capital, which is trying to develop a massive tourist resort in Bulgaria. Other investments include Destiny Wireless, Debretts and a stake in Celtic football club.

Robbie Keane (€34m)

Tallaght maestro Robbie Keane (34) is Ireland’s top scorer and its richest footballer. Around €87m in fees have been spent transferring the striker between Tottenham, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Wolves, Leeds, Coventry, Celtic and LA Galaxy. Keane was voted the “most valuable player” in the MLS after his exploits at LA Galaxy, where he earns €3.3m per year.

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According to the Ireland captain, quality plummets by 30pc by moving away from traditional grass pitches.

His salary in football over the last 17 years is likely to have topped €38m but there were commercial endorsements too. He spent €1.6 buying a house in Malahide last year and has also owned a €4m property in Prestbury as well as LA homes.

Keane was involved in a tax driven scheme to help bankroll movies such as Avatar, X-Men and Planet of the Apes.

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