Katie Taylor has once again been named Ireland’s most admired athlete while the Women’s National Team has been voted Team of the Year.
This is according to findings of the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) which was released this week. The TSSI is a 1,000-person nationally representative survey with quotas imposed across gender, region, age, and social class. The research was carried out by Teneo’s Sports Advisory team and examines the Irish general public’s attitudes towards sport and their sporting heroes.
Following their heroics to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year, Vera Pauw’s side narrowly beat out the Irish Rugby Team who remain number one in the world following their historic year. However, the side’s first ever Test Series win over New Zealand was named the greatest sporting achievement of 2022.
Taylor remains the most admired athlete in the country closely followed by Rachael Blackmore and Kellie Harrington. Taylor’s split decision win over Amanda Serrano and Ireland’s victory in their third Test against the All Blacks to win the series were the joint most memorable sporting moments of the year on 23%.
Gaelic Games is once again the nation’s favourite in 2022 with 20% of the vote.
Speaking at the announcement, Kelli O’Keeffe, Managing Director of Teneo Ireland said that the results show the demand and support for women’s sport in Ireland.
“2022 was a phenomenally successful year for Irish athletes and sports teams across the board. The results of this research demonstrate that women’s sport, and our female athletes, have cemented their place in the psyche of the Irish public for their world class performances and achievements again this year. The FAI Women’s National Team won the hearts of the nation in qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and we are delighted to see them being voted as the nation’s Team of the Year. Having topped the list of most admired athletes in 2021, Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington and Rachael Blackmore are once again leading the way, along with Jonathan Sexton, as role models for our young boys and girls and ambassadors for the country.
“As a nation our love and appreciation of sport is evident in the breadth of the findings in the TSSI where the palpable excitement for the GAA Championships, 6 Nations and FIFA Women’s World Cup along with a number of other sports such as boxing, golf, gymnastics, para sport and tennis all shine through.”
Full TSSI findings:
Team Of The Year 2022
The Women’s National Football Team’s historic qualification for the 2023 World Cup saw them voted Team of the Year with 26% of the vote.
The Ireland Men’s Rugby Team closed off 2022 as the top ranked side in the world, and with victories over New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia they were a close second in the vote for Team of The Year on 24%.
The third placed team was the record-breaking Ireland Women’s Boxing team who backed up a two-gold medal haul at the World Championships in May by travelling to the European Championships in Montenegro and claiming an unprecedented three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
Most Admired Athlete
Katie Taylor is Ireland’s most admired athlete for the 6th year running with 21% of all votes. The Bray native shared top spot last year with Kellie Harrington but, having remained active this year with victories over Amanda Serrano and Karen Carabajal, her enduring popularity shows no sign of fading.
Rachael Blackmore took second spot on 7% having backed up a successful 2021 by claiming the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard.
Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington, who missed the World Championships due to injury but bounced back to win European gold, was tied on 6% alongside World Rugby Player of the Year nominee, Jonathan Sexton. Once again Irish female sports stars are dominating, with three of the top four chosen by the public female.
Greatest Sporting Achievement
Ireland’s first ever Test Series win over New Zealand was voted the greatest sporting achievement of the year on 22%.
Second and third place were the Ireland Women’s National Football Team who beat Scotland to earn their place at the 2023 World Cup (13%) and Katie Taylor for her Lightweight World Championship win over Amanda Serrano which was the first time a women’s fight had headlined a fight in Madison Square Garden (9%).
Favourite Sport 2022
When it comes to the nation’s favourite sports the big three, Soccer, Rugby and Gaelic Games, dominate the top three spots with some change in the roll of honour over the 13 years of this Index. Tied on top spot with Soccer in 2021, Gaelic Games is once again the nation’s favourite in 2022 with 20%, followed by Soccer (17%) and Rugby (13%).
Tennis is once again the nation’s fourth favourite sport (6%), with golf and horse racing closing out the top five on 4%.
When you look at the sports that we “like” it becomes apparent just how deep and wide Ireland’s appetite and enjoyment of sport runs. The big three sports top the list but outside that Tennis (21%), Golf (19%), Horse Racing (16%) Cycling, Boxing (both 13%) and Motor Sport (12%) are all hugely popular.
Most Memorable Sporting Moment
Katie Taylor’s split decision win over Amanda Serrano and Ireland’s victory in their third Test against the All Blacks to win the series were the joint most memorable sporting moments of the year on 23%.
Joint third place on 9% went to Shane Lowry for his emotional interview after winning the BMW PGA Championship and Amber Barrett’s goal against Scotland which secured their place at the 2023 World Cup which she dedicated to the people of Creeslough.
Rhys McClenaghan’s pommel horse performance that landed him, and Ireland’s first ever World Gymnastics gold medal was voted fifth (7%).
Sports Event You’re Most Looking Forward To In 2023
The sights of the nation from a sporting context are on the 2023 Rugby World Cup which 18% of all adults said was the sporting event they were most looking forward to. The GAA All Ireland Senior Football Championship comes second with 12% of the vote followed by the Six Nations Championship and GAA All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, tied on third place with 11%.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia rounds out the top five (10%).