Katie Taylor’s remains the country’s most admired sports star according to the latest Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) 2020 findings.
The popularity of Gaelic Games and the achievements of Dublin in winning six in-a-row are all reflected in the most recent TSSI survey.
The TSSI is a comprehensive 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 and Sponsorship team and iReach. It examines the Irish general public’s attitudes towards sport and their sporting heroes. This is the view of the general public and not a survey of sports fans. It is the eleventh year of the TSSI and the research was carried out between January 14-19.
Most Admired Sports Star
Katie Taylor makes it a four in-a-row of wins in Ireland’s most Admired Sport Star category. It’s the sixth time in eight years that she has topped this particular poll. The only other winners in that time are the now-retired former Ireland rugby captain Paul O’Connell in 2015 and MMA fighter Conor McGregor in 2016.
Taylor is a clear winner with a 30% the votes, well ahead of second placed Ireland rugby captain Jonathan Sexton (6%). Shane Lowry placed third on 5%, with Joe Canning, Pádraig Harrington, Conor Murray and Sam Bennett all sharing fourth spot with 4%
Team of the Year
This was a closely fought contest between two of the finest teams of the modern era in Gaelic Games. Dublin’s six in-a-row winning footballers just edged out Limerick’s All-Ireland winning hurlers.
The Dubs got 24% of the vote – only one percent ahead of Limerick on 23%. In 2020, Leinster Rugby weren’t far off the top two and finished in third place on 20% of the vote thanks to their unbeaten Pro14 season. Dublin’s ladies footballers came fourth with 12% after they made it an All-Ireland four in-a-row. Dundalk FC fill out the top five with 10% of the vote having made this season’s Europa League group stage.
The big three of Gaelic Games, rugby and soccer continue to dominate in the favourite sport category. Gaelic Games grew in popularity in 2020 and remain Favourite Sport for the third year on the bounce. Soccer had been the nation’s number one for eight years in succession from 2010, when the TSSI research was first carried out.
Gaelic Games (football, ladies, hurling and camogie) won 24% support, ahead of soccer (men and women’s) on 14%. Following a decade of great on-field success, rugby (men’s and women’s) remains popular on 13%.
Tennis and cycling both enjoy healthy followings in Ireland and were voted joint-third on 5%, just ahead of athletics and golf on 3%.
When it comes to sport that people “like”, but that isn’t necessarily their favourite sport, tennis (18%) golf (15%), athletics (13%), horse racing (13%) and boxing (12%) all poll strongly.
Most Memorable Sporting Moment
Katie Taylor fought a second war with title challenger Delfine Persoon last August. The Irish public voted the moment her hand was raised in victory as the most memorable sporting moment of 2020.
This moment picked up 32% of the public vote. Cyclist Sam Bennett’s sprint victory on the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris was second on 15%.
Tipperary’s historic Munster Senior Football Championship win over Cork picked up 11% of the vote for third place.
Looking ahead to 2021
The Irish sporting public is hoping for a packed sporting calendar in 2021. The delayed Tokyo Olympic Games is the event the nation is most looking forward to, with 20% of the votes. Second in the running is the forthcoming Six Nations, which polled 17%.
Next on the list are the All-Ireland Senior Hurling (14%) and All-Ireland Senior Football Championships (11%). Combined, all four Gaelic games’ All-Ireland championships (including camogie on 3% and ladies football on 2%) gather 30% of the vote.
Rounding out the top five is Euro 2020, another major competition carried over from last year, on 10%.