Rob Heffernan’s Gold top Irish Sporting Achievement of 2013

Some very interesting  results from the 2013 ‘Pembroke Communications’ Sport Sentiment Index  which was officially launched this morning in Dublin City Centre by Irish Sports Council Chief Executive , John Treacy.

So let us take a detailed look at those findings :


Rob Heffernan’s outstanding achievement in capturing World Championship gold in the 50km walk in Moscow was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2013, according to respondents to the Pembroke Communications’ Sports Sentiment Index 2013 (‘SSI’) .

The SSI is a comprehensive 1,000 person nationally representative survey with quotas imposed on gender, region, age and social class. The research was conducted by Ignite Research on behalf of Pembroke Communications and examines the attitudes of Irish people towards sport, their sporting heroes, participation levels, the impact of sport on the Irish psyche and the contribution sport is making to local communities.

Having finished fourth in the 50km walk in the London Olympics, Cork native Heffernan bounced back in sensational fashion finishing over a minute ahead of his nearest challenger in winning World Championship gold.


However while it may have been Heffernan’s year, Katie Taylor’s achievements in London 2012, coupled with a record  5th in a row, European Union Championship gold in 2013 has the Bray boxer still top of mind and affection once again when it comes to our favourite sports stars with 25% of the vote.


With one more season of action left in the tank, Leinster and Ireland rugby star Brian O’Driscoll is still a fan favourite with 15% of the vote, while third place is champion jockey AP McCoy who is recognised for his stellar contribution to Irish sport and his unprecedented 4,000 wins to date. Another veteran, Ireland’s record goal scorer, Robbie Keane polled 5%, the same as Munster legend Paul O’Connell.


Interestingly, in a year of audacious rugby flicks, 4,000 career wins and All-Ireland hurling hat-tricks, it was the appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane that people selected as their best or most memorable sporting moment from 2013 with 13% of the vote.

The title of “Team of the Year” was shared this year between the Grand Slam winning Irish women’s rugby team and the victorious young Clare hurling team who both polled 13%.

Mick O’Keeffe, managing director of Pembroke Communications said; “2013 was an interesting year for Irish sport. Without stand out international events like the Olympics or European Championships, the Irish sporting focus was shared across many sports and many moments over 12 months and this is reflected in the findings with not much between many of the categories and few runaway winners.


“Having had so many hard luck stories over the years and a number of fourth place finishes, everyone celebrated Rob Heffernan’s gold in Moscow. Heffernan’sstory and indeed  that of his wife and coach’ Marian, who was pregnant at the time, really caught the imagination of the Irish public and obviously still does. The brilliant Clare hurlers and Irish Ladies Rugby team shared the title Team of the Year, slightly ahead of Leinster’s double winning team and Dublin’s Sam Maguire and Allianz League winning champions amongst others.


So to sum up this year’s findings:

•         Rob Heffernan’s World Medal is greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2013 with 12% of the vote

•         Irish women’s rugby team and Clare hurlers share title “Team of the Year”

•         Katie Taylor remains Ireland’s greatest current sports star

•         The O’Neill/Keane appointment voted the greatest sporting moment of last twelve months

•         Soccer is the most “liked” sport in Ireland – 49%, compared to 45% for rugby, 30% for both hurling and football

….. And finally, “A massive 74% of Irish people support hosting the 2023 World Cup, despite some reported reservations around costs.”




Who, in your opinion, is Ireland’s greatest current sports star? (top five stats with last year’s vote in brackets)

25%     Katie Taylor (2012 = 53%)

15%     Brian O’Driscoll (13%)

6%       AP McCoy (3%)

5%       Paul O’Connell (didn’t feature in 2012)

5%       Robbie Keane (4%)

5%       Rory McIlroy (16%)


What was the best/most memorable/iconic sporting moment of 2013? (only top five selected below)


13%     Appointment of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane

9%       AP McCoy claiming a record 4,000 career win

9%       Rob Kearney’s try against the All Blacks

7%       Simon Zebo’s flick against Wales in the Six Nations

6%       Dublin hurlers winning Leinster title for first time in 52 years

5%       Shane O’Donnell’s hat trick in the Hurling Final replay


In your opinion, which of the following deserve the title of Team of the Year 2013? (only top five selected below)


13%     All-Ireland winning Clare hurling team

13%     Grand Slam winning women’s rugby team

8%       Irish amateur boxing team for 2013 European and World performance

7%       Double winning Leinster Rugby team

6%       Dublin’s Gaelic footballers


What, in your opinion, was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2013? (only top five selected below)


12%     Rob Heffernan taking World Championship gold

11%     AP McCoy claiming his 4,000th career win

9%       Grand Slam winning Irish women’s rugby team

9%       Dublin winning All-Ireland football title

9%       Clare winning All-Ireland hurling title


What are you most looking forward to in 2014? (only top five selected below)


23%     The FIFA World Cup

14%     6 Nations Championship

9%       The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

8%       All-Ireland Hurling Championship

5%       All-Ireland Football Championship


Would you be in favour of Ireland hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup?


74%     Yes

7%       No

19%     No opinion

As always SportsNewsIreland welcomes YOUR thoughts on today’s findings.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.