Monday 16 September 2019

Revealed: Conor McGregor 'most admired' Irish sports star of 2016 while rugby stars trump Euro heroes

Ireland celebrate in Soldier Field; (inset, top) Conor McGregor and (inset, below) Robbie Brady celebrates goal against Italy
Ireland celebrate in Soldier Field; (inset, top) Conor McGregor and (inset, below) Robbie Brady celebrates goal against Italy

Harry Clarke

It was a year of sporting highs from the green fields of France to the Octagon in New York, Solider Field in Chicago and the rivers of Rio.

The Irish public will have a tough task when they vote for our sporting heroes of the year in this weekend's RTE Sports Awards.

Before that however, PSG sponsorship have released the results of their annual report, "a nationally representative 1,000 person consumer survey looking at the nation’s attitudes towards sport, their sporting heroes, levels of participation and the impact of sport on the Irish psyche".

Conor McGregor, two-time world champion with the UFC, is the big winner as the Dubliner was voted the most admired sports star of the year, receiving 16pc of the vote and coming in ahead of Katie Taylor who clocked up 14pc.

Ireland's historic victory over New Zealand in Chicago was voted the sporting achievement of the year, registering 19pc while Joe Schmidt's side also won the team of the year vote with Dundalk in second place.

Here are some of the key findings:

Which of the following sports stars do you most admire?

  • Conor McGregor - 16%
  • Katie Taylor – 14%
  • Paul and Gary O’Donovan -8%
  • Ruby Walsh -5%
  • Johnny Sexton-5%
  • Robbie Keane-5%
  • Rory Best-4%
  • Rory McIlroy -4%
  • Jamie Heaslip-3%
  • Robbie Brady -3%
  • Conor Murray -3%

In your opinion, which of the following deserve the title of Team of the Year 2016?

  • Ireland rugby team – 31%
  • Dundalk F.C.  – 15%
  • Ireland soccer team - 11%
  • Connacht rugby team - 9%
  • Dublin Senior Football team – 8%
  • Tipperary Senior Hurling team – 7%
  • Cork Ladies Football team -7%
  • Ireland U20s rugby team – 3%

What was the most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2016?

  • The O'Donovan brothers revealing their 'steak, spuds and pull like a dog' strategy to RTÉ - 23%
  • Conor McGregor beating Eddie Alvarez and lifting both belts at UFC 205 - 18%
  • Robbie Brady scoring the winning goal against Italy in the Euro 2016 Group Stages – 14%
  • Munster rugby winning performance against Glasgow Warriors and rendition of 'Stand Up and Fight' after the passing of Anthony Foley - 13%

What, in your opinion, was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2016?

  • Ireland rugby team beating the All Blacks in Chicago - 19%
  • The O’Donovan brothers winning an Olympic silver medal for rowing in Rio 2016 - 12%
  • Conor McGregor holding two UFC titles simultaneously -9%
  • Ireland soccer team beating Italy in the Euro 2016 Group Stages to reach the last 16 of the competition - 7%
  • Dundalk F.C. qualifying for group stages of the Europa League – 6%

What is your favourite sport? (top 5 only)

  • Soccer -21%
  • Rugby – 17%
  • GAA – 17%
  • Swimming - 5%
  • Tennis – 4%
  • Horse racing – 3%

The Sports Sentiment Index was carried out by PSG Sponsorship in conjunction with leading research agency Ignite Research.  The research was carried out among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 to 65, with quotas imposed on gender, region, age and social class.  The research was carried out between December 9th and 14th.

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