Rugby scores with Irish sports fans

Ireland rugby players Jamie Heaslip, Brian ODriscoll and Rob Kearney in action against Australia. Photo: IRFU Official Website  o lrela

Ireland rugby players Jamie Heaslip, Brian O'Driscoll and Rob Kearney in action against Australia. Photo: IRFU Official Website

As far as the most cherished and memorable sporting moments in Irish sport this year, rugby has easily come out on top with Ronan O’Gara’s drop-goal against Wales in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to give Ireland the Grand Slam achieving the lion’s share of the popular vote.
O’Gara’s memorable kick scored a resounding 61.1 per cent rating as the most iconic and memorable sporting moment of 2009. Ireland’s Grand Slam win accounted for 70.6 per cent of the ballot when people were asked to name this year’s greatest sporting achievement.
The survey, conducted by Pembroke Communications, found that Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll is seen as Ireland’s greatest current sports star with a 34.8 per cent vote, followed by golfer Padraig Harrington on 19.3 per cent and boxer Katie Taylor on 9.6 per cent.
O’Driscoll’s try against Munster in the semi-final of the Heineken European Cup final and golfer Shane Lowry’s putt to win the 3 Irish Open in a play-off at Baltray was joint second in the list of the year’s most iconic and memorable moments.
Kilkenny’s All-Ireland hurling four-in-a-row shared the third greatest sporting achievement of 2009, with Shane’s Lowry’s Irish Open win and Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland emerging unbeaten in its World Cup qualifying group.
Kerry’s reclaiming of the Sam Maguire Cup in Gaelic football rated poorly. Tadgh Kennelly’s jig after Kerry’s win was third in the most iconic/memorable sporting moments, followed by jockey Mick Kinane’s win on Sea The Stars in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Rugby’s Paul O’Connell was voted fourth greatest current sports star with Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and Kilkenny hurler Henry Sheflin in fifth and sixth spot respectively.
While soccer had a low score in many categories, it was rated the favourite participatory sport, with a following of 25.4 per cent compared to 23.2 per cent for rugby and 21.8 per cent for Gaelic football.
The 26-county survey involved interviews with 600 adults aged 21 and over from mid-October to November 2, comprising 49 per cent males and with 45 per cent of respondents based in Dublin.

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