WOW – Conor McGregor still in Top ten most admired sports starts

Amazingly Conor McGregor is still in the top ten most admired sports stars in Ireland according to the ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2019.

Even his absence from the octagon and the number of recent videos and bad publicity he has received seems has not changed the mind of many Irish people who still think he should be admired and not shunned. But at least he’s standing has dropped from 3rd to 9th.

Thank goodness some Irish people are living in reality and have got behind Irish rugby star Johnny Sexton who enters the top 3 most admired Irish sports stars overall in Ireland for the first time, the undisputed World lightweight champion boxer Katie Taylor has emphatically defended her status as Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Personality, according to leading sponsorship advisors ONSIDE. 

Taylor, who will return to the ring on November 2nd in the UK, retained and extended her standalone No.1 position in the latest ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2019, while Irish rugby legend and pundit Brian O’Driscoll climbs back up 2 places to 2nd position, and one of the main movers this year, Johnny Sexton jumps into 3rd place. 

According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE: “Taylors dominance in appeal among the Irish public is on the rise for the past 3 years in particular, with her net volume of support up 58% year on year alone. As the push for greater recognition of women in sport in Ireland makes huge strides generally, it will be encouraging for initiatives like the 20×20 campaign to see that Taylor’s biggest support is coming from Irish females aged 18-34.” However, Trainor believes “there is some road left to travel to win greater admiration levels for female Irish athletes, with just 7% of the sports stars identified being female.  Next years’ Olympic and Paralympic Games are a big stage for stars like Annalise Murphy, Sanita Puspure and Ellen Keane to take their public support to the next level.” 

2019 Open Championship winner Shane Lowry shot his way into the Top 5 for the first time this year, while Rory McIlroy returned to the ONSIDE Top 10 at No.10 following a year outside the polls’ top table last year. Roy Keane maintained his top 5 status among the hearts and minds of the Irish public, while Sonia O’Sullivan remains in the pack as a Top 10 sports star that the public continue to hold in highest esteem.

Irish soccer star Robbie Keane drops just outside the Top 10 alongside Irish National Team Manager Mick McCarthy.  Trainor notes that “It was team managers that received highest accolade in the GAA arena, with Jim Gavin and Davy Fitzgerald gaining most admiration, while on the field it was the 5 in a row Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton that won the highest GAA player star recognition.”

2 in 3 Irish adults have an Irish sports star that they admire most, with 70 different sports personalities singled out for special recognition by the Irish public in the latest ONSIDE research.

Meanwhile, as Rugby World Cup 2019 moves up a gear this week to quarter final stages, Trainor notes: “While Sexton has closed the public appeal gap to Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara continue to score strongly in the ONSIDE Most Admired Rugby stars today.”  Among the current squad in action in Japan, the other rugby stars that the public most admire at present are Rory Best, Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and Rob Kearney.

Outside of sport, the ONSIDE STAR TRACK 2019 also found that Ryan Tubridy has retained the Top status as the most admired television or radio personality in Ireland for a 7th consecutive year, with Gay Byrne next in line followed by a long tail of third place contenders including Ray Darcy, Joe Duffy, Pat Kenny, and Dáithí Ó Sé. According to Trainor: “Among the elusive Irish 18-24 year olds, the line-up of most admired stars does show an attraction to the lighter side of broadcasters with personalities including Graham Norton, Tommy Tiernan and Doireann Garrihy getting a younger vote”. 

ONSIDE anticipates more ground-breaking investment in ambassadorial programmes in the next decade, as leading athletes globally and locally are becoming more and more valuable in the sports marketing landscape. Trainor singles out megastar footballer Ronaldo as” the highest profile example, with his move to Juventus helping double the club’s Instagram following in five months and this reach helping the club significantly increase its sponsorship income.  Viewed through the players lens, Ronaldo’s own social media following is greater than the club’s and gives him a direct-to-consumer channel that has been unrelentingly exploited.”


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