Irish female sports stars have once again dominated Teneo's Sports and Sponsorship Index (TSSI), with three of the top four most admired athletes being female.
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 Advisory team and examines the Irish general public’s attitudes towards sport and their sporting heroes.
The public vote saw Katie Taylor named the country's most admired athlete for 2022, claiming the top spot for the 6th year running. The Bray native took 21% of the votes and with victories this year over Amanda Serrano and Karen Carabajal, her popularity shows no sign of decline.
AND STILL THE UNDISPUTED LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION!
Unstoppable, Unbelievable. Katie Taylor defends her belts against Karen Carabajal after a supremly dominant and comfortable display in a bouncing Wembley Arena.
👑 Ring Magazine pic.twitter.com/tIyB1OfhQx
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) October 29, 2022
Rachael Blackmore took second spot with 7% of the vote after another stormer of a year becoming the first female to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard and making it a double after adding another Champion Hurdle win aboard Honeysuckle to her outstanding CV.
Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington was tied third with 6% of the vote. Harrington missed the World Championships this year due to injury but returned with a bang to claim European gold.
The Women's National soccer team claimed Team of the Year after making history in an incredible year for women’s sport. Vera Pauw’s Irish squad took 26% of the vote for Team of the Year, after qualifying for their first-ever major tournament in the 2023 Women’s World Cup next summer. The team have also climbed to 23rd in the FIFA Women's World Rankings.
The Irish women's boxing team claimed 15% of this vote after another incredibly successful year for the sport. Meath's back-to-back All Ireland winning ladies footballers were also included with 4% of the vote after they beat Kerry in this years All-Ireland Final, and were also League winners.
In terms of most memorable sporting moments of the year, Katie Taylor's split decision victory over Amanda Serrano was joint first on 23%.
In joint third place, on 9% was Amber Barrett’s poignant goal against Scotland which secured their place at the 2023 World Cup and which she dedicated to the people of Creeslough.
A really beautiful moment in this, where Katie McCabe reaches Amber Barrett first, realises what's happening, pats her own black armband and kisses Barrett on the head.
Split second you might miss in real time, but watching it here gives you goosebumps.pic.twitter.com/SnKuPMVMo2
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) October 14, 2022
Gaelic games took the top spot as Ireland's favourite sport with 20% of the vote. This was followed by soccer (17%) and rugby (13%). Outside of the big three top sports, Tennis (21%), Golf (19%), Horse Racing (16%) Cycling, Boxing (both 13%) and Motor Sport (12%) are all hugely popular and reflective of the talent and achievements of Irish sports stars.
Kelli O’Keeffe, Managing Director of Teneo Ireland said: "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."
The research was carried out between 17 and 25 November 2022 and is representative of the general public, not specifically sports fans.