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Katie Taylor beats big hitters to retain Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Star Award

Katie Taylor has beaten stiff opposition to retain ‘Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Star’ status.

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‚ÄôKeeffe, Managing Director of Teneo said that ‚Äúthe impact of women in sport throughout 2018 is also clearly visible in the findings. Katie Taylor‚Äôs 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‚Äôs the beauty of sport! The TSSI provides a snap shot of the general public‚Äôs views on the sporting year that was and the sporting year to come. Let‚Äôs hope 2019 can be every bit if not even more successful for Irish sport.‚ÄĚ

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%
Dundalk                                                                                   5%
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%
Soccer                                                                                     19%
Rugby                                                                                      14%
Golf                                                                                         3%
Athletics                                                                                  3%
Swimming                                                                               3%
Tennis                                                                                      3%

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%


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com