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Scandal, shocks and sadness: These were the most-read articles on The42 in 2016

Here’s what you have been reading for the last 12 months.

10. Irish Olympic boxer Michael O’Reilly has failed a doping test (4 Aug)

Michael O'Reilly Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Views: 106,422

What was it about? Ireland’s Olympics was thrown into turmoil two days before the Rio boxing tournaments began as it emerged that medal prospect Michael O’Reilly had failed a doping test. O’Reilly was subsequently sent home from Brazil, and the strongest Irish squad ever sent to a major tournament came home empty-handed.

Sample comment: ”Very disappointing news. Our boxers are the best hope for medals. Hopefully it won’t (affect) the other boxers” — David Staed

9. John Kavanagh: What Conor will do at UFC 197 will never happen again (12 Jan)

UFC 202 Mixed Martial Arts Source: Isaac Brekken

Views: 112,982

What was it about? Conor McGregor started the year with his sights set on Rafael dos Anjos and the UFC lightweight title. Before dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 197 injured, McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh wrote about the historical significance of the moment in his column for The42.

Sample comment: “Make history SBG …. #andnew” — Adrian Carroll

8. World’s End! Katie Taylor suffers shock defeat in world championship semis (26 May)

inpho_01065908

Views: 113,671

What was it about? Katie Taylor headed to the world championships in Astana bidding for her sixth straight lightweight gold but after losing at the European Olympic Qualifiers, she suffered a second shock defeat in as many months, beaten by France’s Estelle Mossely in the semi-finals.

Sample comment: “Her invincibility is slipping I’m afraid to say” — MickMc

7. Watch: Incredible finish to college relay is going viral for good reason (19 April)

Source: nTrai/YouTube

Views: 114,420

What was it about? This incredible finish to the women’s 4x400m relay at the Irish Universities Track and Field Championships went viral across the globe when Phil Healy came “from the depths of hell” to steal the most unlikely win for UCC. The original clip has since been viewed more than 3.2 million times on YouTube.

Sample comment: “Savage comeback, the commentary from the two boys probably made the Video tho” — Colm Buckley

6. Conor McGregor beaten for the first time in the UFC as Diaz scores massive shock (6 Mar)

UFC 196 Mixed Martial Arts Source: AP/Press Association Images

Views: 116,228

What was it about? UFC 197 was supposed to be the night when Conor McGregor made history but after lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos pulled out injured, McGregor made the unprecedented move of stepping up two weight classes to face Nate Diaz. It backfired and Diaz, a massive outsider, handed the Dubliner the first defeat of his UFC career.

Sample comment: “This loss was all down to McGregor’s ego. Shouldn’t have gone up to 170 in the first place with no experience in the division. Kept his hands low throughout the fight and paid the price. He’ll be back though. Not the worst loss in the circumstances.” — 40Yards

5. Katie Taylor suffers first loss since 2011 and will have to wait to secure Olympic place (15 April)

Yana Alexseevna is declared the winner Source: Ilyas Gun

Views: 117,205

What was it about? The photo says it all. Nobody saw this coming, not least Katie Taylor, but the reigning Olympic champion was stunned in the semi-finals of the European qualifiers for Rio, suffering her first defeat in five years as she was beaten by Yana Alekseevna.

Sample comment: “Disappointed for her but I guess it had to happen sooner or later, no defeat in 5 years is some going to be fair. It’s not over though, she has another shot at it and I’ve no doubt she’ll prevail.” — Jimmy Murphy

4. Conor McGregor stops Eddie Alvarez to win UFC lightweight title and make history (13 Nov)

UFC 205 Mixed Martial Arts Source: Julio Cortez

Views: 123,498

What was it about? Conor McGregor promised that he would do what no man had ever done before in the UFC and, as 12 November turned into 13, he backed up the talk one more time. The Notorious stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round of their title match in Madison Square Garden, and McGregor added the lightweight title to his featherweight one, becoming the first fighter to simultaneously hold belts at two weights.

Sample comment: “Alvarez had nothing for McGregor there. Completely outclassed and battered. He’s just another fighter that says they’re the worst match up for McGregor and look what happened. Bit of a let down, was hoping for a battle.” — Jonah

3. Daylight robbery as Michael Conlan denied Olympic medal by more farcical judging (16 Aug)

Michael Conlan following his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin

Views: 131,390

What was it about? “They’re fucking cheats,” Michael Conlan fumed after he was robbed of an Olympic medal by some farcical judging in Rio. Ireland’s world champion was on the wrong end of some bizarre scoring as the judges ruled that Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin had beaten him by unanimous decision in the bantamweight quarter-finals. Nikitin was so badly hurt in the “win” that he was unable to fight in the semi-finals.

Sample comment: “One of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen” — The Bloody Nine

2. All 36 Olympic boxing referees and judges stood down by AIBA (6 Oct)

Michael Conlan following his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin

Views: 179,198

What was it about? For Conlan and the other boxers who left Rio with a sour taste in their mouths, it was far too little, far too late, but amateur boxing’s governing body AIBA announced in October that they were suspending all 36 judges and referees pending further investigation into the Olympic officiating.

Sample comment: “No point in closing the door after the horse has bolted” — Mike Ryan

1. IRFU announce that Munster head coach Anthony Foley has died suddenly in Paris (16 Oct)

A view of Thomond Park as the two teams stand for a minutes silence in memory of Anthony Foley Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Views: 214,557

What was it about? Tragedy struck Irish sport on the morning of Sunday 16 October as the news emerged of Anthony Foley’s sudden death in Paris. The many heartfelt tributes paid to the Munster head coach in the days and weeks that followed served only to reinforce the gaping hole left by this giant of Irish sport.

Sample comment: “Awful news. The word legend is thrown around a lot these days, but a true Munster and Irish hero. RIP” — Rob O’H

– All figures correct at the time of writing.

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The absolutely essential phrases that powered sport in 2016

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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