While Conor McGregor shapes up for a potential 2.5m pay-per-views box office hit at UFC 229 fight card tomorrow night, Irish boxer Katie Taylor has retained her status as Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Personality, according to the sports sponsorship consultancy Onside.
Taylor, who will see her own box-office movie ‘Katie’ hit Irish cinemas on October 26, retained and extended her No.1 position in the latest Onside Star Track 2018 research as McGregor- who came 2nd last year- dropped to 3rd position, behind Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane.
According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of Onside: “Digging behind individual performances, Taylor’s dominance in appeal among the Irish female public is undisputed, while McGregor’s strong point remains among 18-24 year olds in Ireland, where he is the clear No.1 superstar.”
Roy Keane, meanwhile, has emerged as the sports star that Irish males admire most, fuelled in part by a strong support from the public in Munster.
Meanwhile, as rugby warms up for a mouth-watering year with the Guinness Autumn Internationals in November, the Six Nations in February and of course the Rugby World Cup in Japan next September, Johnny Sexton was singled out by the latest Onside research as the rugby star with the most momentum behind him at present.
According to Trainor: “While legend’s Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara all still score in the Onside Top 10 Most Admired Sports stars of 2018, Johnny Sexton has shot up the leaderboard to join the past players in our latest Top 10. Sexton is poised to cement his position alongside his fellow rugby legends and other stars like Sonia O’Sullivan and Padraig Harrington as Ireland’s most admired sports heroes for years to come”.
GAA personalities that scored highest in the Onside Star Track 2018 included a mix of players and management, with Stephen Cluxton the Top Most admired current Gaelic Football star and Joe Canning the Top Most Admired current Hurling star in 2018. Also singled out by the public for admiration were Dublin Manager Jim Gavin and Kilkenny Manager Brian Cody.
Trainor notes: “2 in 3 of the Irish public could name a sports person they admired most this year, with an increase in the number and variety of different sports-related stars winning the Irish public’s hearts and minds rising to 58 – with 2 in 3 of these being GAA, soccer or Rugby stars.”
Outside of sport, the Onside Star Track 2018 also found that Ryan Tubridy and Gay Byrne now share the Top status as the most admired television or radio personality in Ireland, with Miriam O’Callaghan replacing Pat Kenny to make up this year’s Top 3. According to Trainor: “While Gay Byrne continues to win huge loyal admiration in Dublin and among males, Ryan Tubridys’ fan base is most noteworthy among the public in Connacht, among Irish females and among 18-24 year olds”.