2022 has been a phenomenal year for women in sport. Records have been smashed and history has been made, from Glasgow to Istanbul and from Cheltenham to Madison Square Garden, Irish women are consistently raising the bar and inspiring young and old all over.
With such a historical and successful year in Irish sport it is near impossible to put it down to 5 moments, but here is what Her Sport have chosen as the Top 5 Moments in Irish Sport for 2022.
In no particular order....
1. Katie Taylor beats Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA
Katie Taylor was announced undisputed, undefeated Champion of the World after a 10-round fight against Puerto Rican boxer Amanda Serrano in a sold out Madison Square Garden.
It was an incredibly historic night for women's boxing as they became the first women to headline a boxing event at the iconic New York venue, putting on a thrilling and competitive display with an electric atmosphere. This marked Taylor's 21st fight, 21st win and continuing on her reign of undisputed lightweight champion of the World.
Taylor extended this streak to 22 wins, 22 fights in October after defeating Argentinian boxer Karen Carbajal in London's Wembley Arena.
The Bray native is arguably Ireland's most successful athlete ever and is going absolutely no where, expressing that her next dream is to come home and defend her title in none other than Croke Park.
“We want the fight at Croke Park, 80,000 people,” she said in her post fight interview against Carbajal
“Every single person here will want to be there. It will be the biggest event in women’s boxing history.”
Same same but different.
“I shook up the world.”
When you think Madison Square Garden, you normally think Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier. After this weekend, people will now also think Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano. One of the epic fights in boxing history. pic.twitter.com/etZ63NaVU3
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) May 3, 2022
2. Rachael Blackmore wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Rachael Blackmore added to her outstanding CV claiming her first ever Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard A Plus Tard on March 18th 2022 pulling away to win by 15 lengths.
Blackmore now has 2 champion hurdles, a Grand National and a Gold Cup to her name and is as driven and determined as ever, riding some of trainer Henry de Bromhead's top stars. The Tipperary native is the first female rider to win the Gold Cup, Grand National and the Champion Hurdle.
After the race, Blackmore said: "I'm so overwhelmed, I feel so lucky to be getting to ride these horses at brilliant places like here, to be in Henry's yard."
"I don't know how or why I'm so lucky to be in the position I'm in, it's unbelievable."
Rachael's father Charles spoke proudly of his daughter's achievement after the race saying "This is a moment of a lifetime to be here and watch her win this"
"I can't quite believe what she has done over the last 12 months. She is such a kind person. She speaks to everyone and gives everyone a bit of her time, but she also knows when to draw the line."
Rachael Blackmore and A Plus Tard are the #Cheltenham Gold Cup winners!
After finishing runners-up last year, Blackmore went one better this time around as the pair were the runaway winners this afternoon. That's now the #ChampionHurdle and #GoldCup in the bag! pic.twitter.com/5Ss7z22tLV
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) March 18, 2022
3. Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke win World Championship Gold
The IBA Women's World Boxing Championships took place in Istanbul in May 2022, with Ireland's Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke both taking the Gold and becoming World Champions in their respective weight divisions in a historical day for Irish sport.
25-year-old Broadhurst, who fights at Light-Welterweight (60-63kg) beat Algeria’s Imane Khelif to claim the light-welterweight title in Istanbul.
Broadhurst has now won every one of her bouts this year, taking gold at the World Championships and also going onto winning gold at the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
Teammate Lisa O’Rourke, who fights at Light-Middleweight (66-70kg), also claimed Gold at her debut Senior World Championships less than two months after being crowned European U-22 champion. Not even Katie Taylor won a medal at her first World championships in 2005 and O'Rourke, at only 20-years-old, defeated Mozambique's Helena Alcinda Panguane on a 4-1 majority decision.
Prior to this, Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington were the only Irish female boxers to have taken home gold medals from the world championships. Kellie Harrington won gold in New Delhi in 2018 and Katie Taylor won five times between 2006 and 2014.
4. Katie O’Brien wins para-rowing World Championship Gold
On September 23rd in Racice, Czech Republic, Katie O'Brien became World Champion in the Para Women's Single Sculls.
Three years prior, O'Brien had won bronze at the World Championships, an incredible achievement in itself, but the Galway native dug deeper and got her gold.
O'Brien lead from the start and finished a remarkable 10 seconds ahead of reigning World Champion Kathryn Ross of Australia.
Earlier in the year, Galway native O'Brien also took home the gold medal and set a new world record in the PR2 single sculls event at the World Cup II in Poznan, Poland.
5. Amber Barret's poignant goal qualifies Ireland for their first ever World Cup
On October 11th in Hampden Park, Glasgow Scotland, Amber Barrett slots the ball into the bottom right corner, the only score of the night, and the Republic of Ireland squad qualify for the 2023 FIFA World Cup that will take place next summer in Australia.
“I had come into camp with a bit of a niggle but I had a great conversation with Vera [Pauw] early on, and she told me to think of Tuesday and not to worry. So when I came on, I was in the right frame of mind. I knew I was there to get a goal and to trust whatever striker’s instinct I have when the chance comes. When Denise [O’Sullivan] gave me the pass, it felt like 10 or 15 seconds went by before I had the shot. In reality it could only have been three or four."
As well as being a historic moment, it was also incredibly poignant with Barrett racing to the corner flag and the Donegal star kissing her black armband, a moving moment of recognition for those lost in the devastating Creeslough tragedy.
“I’ll never be able to think about the goal or that game without thinking of Creeslough. I spoke to my mother in the build-up to the game and really, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to play. I was grateful that I did obviously and when the goal came, I was grateful for how I reacted. There was no thought put into the celebration, I just did what felt natural."
The Republic of Ireland team have rose to 23rd in the FIFA World Rankings and the countdown to July 2023 and Australia has begun!
Have a different opinion? Tweet us @HerSport and tell us what your top moments of the year were! #HerSportMOTY