While Conor McGregor shapes up for a potential 2.5 million pay per views box office hit at UFC 229 fight card next Saturday, Irish boxer Katie Taylor remains Ireland’s most admired sports personality, the latest Onside Star Track sports survey shows. The Bray pugilist extended her premier position as McGregor dropped to third position behind Roy Keane.
Taylor’s own box-office movie Katie is due for release in Irish cinemas at the end of October. Commenting on the new survey, Onside’s John Trainor said Taylor’s appeal among Irish women is undisputed, while McGregor remains popular among 18-24 year olds where he is the leading superstar. Roy Keane is the sports star Irish men most admire.
Keane’s support comes from a strong base in Munster. Meanwhile, as Irish rugby warms up for another mammoth year, including a testing battle with the All Blacks in the Guinness Series in November and a defence of the Six Nations in early 2019 as a run into the RWC 2019 in Japan this time next year, Johnny Sexton (above) was singled out as the sport’s top star.
Sexton currently has the most momentum behind him. While Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara all still feature in the Onside top 10 most admired sports stars, the Leinster captain has shot up the leaderboard. Sexton is poised to cement his position alongside other sports stars like athlete Sonia O’Sullivan and golfer Padraig Harrington.
GAA personalities that scored highest in the latest tracking included a mix of players and management, with Dublin football goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton the sport’s most admired star and Galway’s Joe Canning the most admired hurling star. Also singled out by the public for admiration were Dublin manager Jim Gavin and Kilkenny boss Brian Cody.
RTE’s Ryan Tubridy and Gay Byrne now share the top spot as Ireland’s most admired TV or radio personality, with Miriam O’Callaghan replacing Pat Kenny to make up this year’s top three. While Gaybo continues to have a handsome following in Dublin and among males, Tubs is most popular in Connacht, among Irish women and 18-24 year olds.