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The year of McGregor: These were the most-read articles on The42 in 2015

Thanks for reading – here’s to an even bigger and better year in 2016.

10. Stephanie Roche’s American dream has come to a premature end (May 23)

screenshot-1432314076-51505 Keeper Notes / Twitter Keeper Notes / Twitter / Twitter

Views: 75,875

What was it about? Ireland international Stephanie Roche shot to prominence with her Puskas Award nomination, and was signed by American club Houston Dash. However she was released just three months into her contract having only played two games.

Sample comment: “Very harsh treatment of what seems a really good hardworking footballer. At the same time I think if she was standing out they would have held onto her…” (Nick Menezes)

9. ‘It overwhelmed me and I came to tears’ – Watch Conor McGregor’s post-fight press conference (12 July)

John Locher John Locher

Views: 79,650

What was it about? An emotional Conor McGregor spoke to the media immediately after he defeated Chad Mendes to win the UFC interim featherweight title.

Sample comment: “I woke the house up this morning at 5am shouting at the TV. A great night of UFC, Conor proved himself to be a true champ. Wonder will there be flags flyers at the airport and Enda there to greet him? I very much doubt it.” (Ben Redline)

8. Sonny Bill Williams explains why he gave his RWC medal to a young fan (31 October)

Charlie Lines after Sonny Bill Williams gave him his winning medal Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Views: 88,668

What was it about? One of the moments of the Rugby World Cup came after the final when Sonny Bill Williams gave his winner’s medal to a young fan who had been tackled by an over-zealous security guard. Our man Murray Kinsella was one of those who spoke to the All Blacks legend afterwards.

Sample comment: “Incredible act of kindness, you would be hard pressed to find others who would do that.” (Tiarnan Guinée)

7. Conor McGregor is bringing a UFC belt back home to Ireland (12 July)

UFC 189 Mixed Martial Arts John Locher John Locher

Views: 92,503

What was it about? After Jose Aldo pulled out of UFC 189 citing injury, Conor McGregor fought — and beat — Chad Mendes to win the interim lightweight title. The42‘s Paul Dollery reported from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on a historic night for Irish MMA.

Sample comment: “Love him or hate him, the guy walks the walk…” (Alan Ludlow)

6. Stephanie Roche has weighed in on THAT photo with Messi and Ronaldo (16 January)

Stephanie Roche with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi Valeriano Di Domenico / INPHO Valeriano Di Domenico / INPHO / INPHO

Views: 92,700

What was it about? Stephanie Roche brushed shoulders with some of the biggest names in world football when she was nominated for the Puskas Award. This photo of her, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi made a lot of front pages.

Sample comment: “What a fantastic ambassador for Ireland & women’s football. Such a lovely, down-to-earth girl.” (Laura Byrne)

5. What’s the story with Wales v Ireland not being on TV? (8 August)

Simon Zebo scores a try Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Views: 101,083

What was it about? Ireland’s first Rugby World Cup warm-up was not carried live by Sky, TV3 or RTÉ — which led to a mad scramble and some TV re-tuning for those anxious to watch the match.

Sample comment: “Thank God for the TV licence bringing us all the programming we love……. oh” (Alan Corlett)

4. The world’s most famous porn star is ‘obsessed’ with Conor McGregor (7 May)

People Jenna Jameson AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Views: 104,517

What was it about? Jenna Jameson revealed that she is “obsessed” with Conor McGregor. It seems most of the 104,000+ views were from readers, like I Love My County (below), who had never heard of Jenna Jameson before.

Sample comment: “Never heard of her…………” (I Love My County)

3. Schmidt: ‘I’ve got a sick son, the reality for me is a long way from rugby’ (21 March)

Joe Schmidt Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Views: 120,576

What was it about? Speaking to Murray Kinsella and the assembled media after Ireland clinched back-to-back Six Nations titles, Joe Schmidt explained how his immediate focus was now on his family and in particular, 11-year-old son Luke who suffers from epilepsy.

Sample comment: “Not just one of the best rugby coaches in the world but totally grounded and clearly a loving father. Respect.” (AJ McLaughlin)

2. John Kavanagh: Part of me can see this fight being over in 60 seconds (30 November)


Views: 135,018

What was it about? In an exclusive column for The42 before UFC 194, coach John Kavanagh predicted that Conor McGregor could dethrone Jose Aldo inside 60 seconds. Have you the Lotto numbers there, John?

Sample comment: “1st or 2nd round McGregor by TKO. I know Aldo is a beast, but every dog has his day – just like Anderson, Fedor, etc – Aldo’s reign is over. Aldo is war-worn.” (Conor Graham)

1. Conor McGregor defeats Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 (13 December)

AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Views: 167,041

What was it about? As you’ve seen, nobody captured our readers’ imagination in 2015 quite like Conor McGregor and the icing on the cake came in Las Vegas earlier this month when he KOd Jose Aldo in 13 stunning seconds to become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion.

Sample comment: “Woke up 5mins ago. Had a pee, fight over, back to bed.” (Paul McManus)

– All figures correct at the time of writing.

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