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Chicago win against the All Blacks voted Ireland's greatest sporting achievement of 2016

Results from an annual survey have been released.

WHAT DID YOU think was the greatest Irish sporting achievement in 2016?

In one annual survey Ireland’s historic victory over New Zealand in November which took place at Soldier Field in Chicago, has come out on top.

Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Simon Zebo, Conor Murray and CJ Stander celebrate winning Ireland's Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Simon Zebo, Conor Murray and CJ Stander celebrate their victory. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The famous win by Joe Schmidt’s team received 19% of the vote in the PSG Sport and Sponsorship Sentiment Index 2016, an annual survey taken by 1,000 people nationwide.

The O’Donovan brothers Olympic success is second on 12% with Conor McGregor’s achievement at simultaneously holding two UFC titles (9%), Ireland’s Euro 2016 win over Italy (7%) and Dundalk’s qualification for the Europa League group stages (6%).

Daryl Horgan celebrates their goal with David McMillan and Robbie Benson Daryl Horgan celebrates Dundalk's goal against Maccabi Tel Aviv Source: Dov Halickman/INPHO

The most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2016 was voted to be the O’Donovan brothers interview with RTÉ (23%) ahead of McGregor’s win over Alvarez (18%), Robbie Brady’s goal against Italy (14%) and Munster’s victory over Glasgow Warriors after Anthony Foley’s passing (13%).

Tony and Dan Foley, sons of the late Anthony Foley sing with the Munster players after the game Tony and Dan Foley, sons of the late Anthony, sing with Munster players Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

McGregor has been voted Ireland’s most admired sports star with 16% of the vote ahead of Katie Taylor (14%) and the O’Donovan brothers (8%).

Conor McGregor celebrates winning Conor McGregor celebrates his UFC 205 victory Source: Tom Hogan/INPHO

Elsewhere the Irish rugby side claimed the Team of the Year vote with 31% ahead of Dundalk, the Irish soccer side and Connacht rugby.

“This was a vintage year for Irish sport with memorable victories on the international stage for our rugby, soccer, golfing and Olympic and Paralympic heroes,” says Mick O’Keeffe, CEO of PSG Communications.

“The general public was spoilt for choice in this year’s survey and I expect the findings to once again lead to healthy debate.

Conor McGregor really is the story of the 2016 research and he has propelled himself into the psyche of the Irish public, especially with the younger 18-34 year-old demographic.

“The O’Donovan brothers were relatively unknown heading into Rio 2016 but are now household names and extremely popular.

Gary and Paul O’Donovan Gary and Paul O'Donovan after their Olympic silver medal win

“There is undoubtedly seasonal bias and major successes that happen earlier in the year tend to drift from people’s consciousness as the end of year approaches.

There were so many sporting moments and highs and lows from Robbie Brady’s winner versus Italy to Munster Rugby’s emotional tribute to Anthony Foley but more than anything, this year’s research illustrates that as a nation, we are obsessed with sport and blessed with our sports teams and sports stars.”

Here’s some of the key findings.

What, in your opinion, was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2016?

  • Ireland rugby team beating the All Blacks in Chicago – 19%
  • The O’Donovan brothers winning an Olympic silver medal for rowing in Rio 2016 – 12%
  • Conor McGregor holding two UFC titles simultaneously – 9%
  • Ireland soccer team beating Italy in the Euro 2016 Group Stages to reach the last 16 of the competition – 7%
  • Dundalk F.C. qualifying for group stages of the Europa League – 6%

What was the most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2016?

  • The O’Donovan brothers revealing their ‘steak, spuds and pull like a dog’ strategy to RTÉ – 23%
  • Conor McGregor beating Eddie Alvarez and lifting both belts at UFC 205 – 18%
  • Robbie Brady scoring the winning goal against Italy in the Euro 2016 Group Stages – 14%
  • Munster rugby winning performance against Glasgow Warriors and rendition of ‘Stand Up and Fight’ after the passing of Anthony Foley – 13%

In your opinion, which of the following deserve the title of Team of the Year 2016?

  • Ireland rugby team – 31%
  • Dundalk F.C. – 15%
  • Ireland soccer team – 11%
  • Connacht rugby team – 9%
  • Dublin Senior Football team – 8%
  • Tipperary Senior Hurling team – 7%
  • Cork Ladies Football team -7%
  • Ireland U20s rugby team – 3%

Which of the following sports stars do you most admire?

  • Conor McGregor – 16%
  • Katie Taylor – 14%
  • Paul and Gary O’Donovan – 8%
  • Ruby Walsh – 5%
  • Johnny Sexton – 5%
  • Robbie Keane – 5%
  • Rory Best – 4%
  • Rory McIlroy – 4%
  • Jamie Heaslip – 3%
  • Robbie Brady – 3%
  • Conor Murray – 3%

What are you most looking forward to in 2017? (top 5 only)

  • RBS 6 Nations – 26%
  • GAA Championships – 19%
  • FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – 18%
  • British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand – 6%
  • 2017 Cheltenham Festival – 6%
  • 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup

What is your favourite sport? (top 5 only)

  • Soccer – 21%
  • Rugby – 17%
  • GAA – 17%
  • Swimming – 5%
  • Tennis – 4%
  • Horse racing – 3%

What would you have voted for?

– First published 06.00

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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