Taylor’s place in the hearts of the Irish public was once again highlighted as she saw off the likes of World Rugby Player of the Year Johnny Sexton and the popular O’Donovan brothers to retain the gong.
The unified lightweight world champion, who set up a massive 2019 with victory in Madison Square Garden on Saturday is the country’s Most Admired Sports Star with 19% of respondents ranking her at number one in in the findings of the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index 2018 findings.
It’s the fourth time in the last six years that the Matchroom fighter comes out on top in this category.
In one of the few awards he did not win this year, Johnny Sexton takes second place on the list. World Rugby’s Player of the Year was ranked most admired by 11% of respondents.
World Championship winning rowers Gary and Paul O’Donovan (10%) were just behind with a gap then to Peter O’Mahony on 6% and Conor Murray and Joe Canning on 4% while Kelly Harrington comes in at joint-sixth with 3% following her World Championships gold.
Conor McGregor, who came out on top in this category in 2016 and second in 2017, polled 2% and is outside the top 10.
However, despite Taylor coming out on top, boxing did not feature in the Top 6 of respondents’ favourite sports – with Teneo clarifying that the study is of the general public and not necessarily sports fans.
Kelli O’Keeffe, Managing Director of Teneo said that “the impact of women in sport throughout 2018 is also clearly visible in the findings. Katie Taylor’s popularity endures but now there is a much broader representation of female sport in the findings and that reflects what we are seeing in terms of coverage and interest.”
“The findings always cause plenty of debate and that’s the beauty of sport! The TSSI provides a snap shot of the general public’s views on the sporting year that was and the sporting year to come. Let’s hope 2019 can be every bit if not even more successful for Irish sport.”
Selected Research Findings
Team of the Year (top 5 only)
Ireland Rugby Team (Men) 43%
Ireland Hockey Team (Women) 17%
Limerick Senior Hurlers 8%
Dublin Senior Footballers 6%
Ireland Rowing Team 5%
What was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2018?
Ireland win v All Blacks 40%
Ireland win Grand Slam 15%
Ireland hockey winning silver at World Cup 7%
Limerick’s All-Ireland win 5%
Katie Taylor retains WBA lightweight world title 5%
What was the most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2018?
Johnny Sexton drop goal v France 31%
Women’s hockey penalty shoot-out v Spain 21%
Conor McGregor tapping out v Nurmagomedov 15%
Jacob Stockdale try v New Zealand 13%
Limerick’s Nickie Quaid save v Cork 6%
Which of the following sports stars do you most admire?
Katie Taylor 19%
Johnny Sexton 11%
O’Donovan Brothers 10%
Peter O’Mahony 6%
Conor Murray 4%
Joe Canning 4%
Kelly Harrington 3%
Aidan O’Brien 3%
Seamus Coleman 3%
Rory McIlroy 3%
What is your favourite sport?
Gaelic Games 21%
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Rugby World Cup 26%
The All-Ireland Senior Inter-County Championships 19%
6 Nations Championship 11%
Euro 2020 Qualifiers 10%
UEFA Champions League 7%