Harrington tops new list of most admired stars

Ireland’s two most admired sports stars were both boxers, with Bray’s world champion Katie Taylor and Olympic champion Kellie Harrington sharing top spot in the poll (both on 16%)

Harrington’s gold medal win was the nation’s Greatest Sporting Achievement on 20%, but three of the top five achievements are provided by women – Taylor, Harrington and jockey Rachael Blackmore.

Soccer is back on top as Ireland’s Favourite Sport, sharing top spot with Gaelic Games, both on 18%, having last headed the voting in 2017.

The Team of the Year winners are Team Ireland, who took home two gold medals and two bronze from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

2021 will be remembered as the year of women in sport in Ireland, with our top female athletes dominating the voting in many of the key categories in the Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index (TSSI) 2021.

The TSSI is a comprehensive 1,000 person nationally representative survey with quotas imposed across gender, region, age and social class. 

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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.  This is the view of the general public and not a survey of sports fans.  It is the twelfth year of the TSSI and the research was carried out between November 25 and December 9, 2021

Most Admired Sports Star 2021

Ireland’s three most admired sports stars are boxers Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington (both 16%) and jockey Rachael Blackmore (9%). Taylor defended her unified world lightweight titles while Kellie Harrington emulated her by winning an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games. Blackmore won the Aintree Grand National and took the Champion Jockey prize at the Cheltenham festival. Ireland rugby captain Jonathan Sexton came joint third in the poll on 9% alongside Blackmore, with Olympic gold medal rower Paul O’Donovan, Paralympian Ellen Keane, rugby player Tadhg Furlong and Ireland soccer captain Katie McCabe sharing fifth spot on 4%.

Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Achievement

Women also dominate this category, filling three of the top five slots. Kellie Harrington was taken to the nation’s hearts in 2021 and her Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medal win was voted top Irish Sporting Achievement of the past 12 months by 20% of people – topping the poll. Rachael Blackmore’s wins at the Aintree Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival saw her into third on 11% and Katie Taylor’s successful world title defences put her into fifth on 9%.

Separating them were Ireland’s men’s rugby team’s memorable win over New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in November (in second place on 19%) and rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy taking gold in Tokyo (fourth on 10%).

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