Rugby features strongly in the 2014 PSG Sponsorship Sports Sentiment Index with the Men’s and Women’s teams topping the poll and the Rugby World Cup the most anticipated event in 2015.
Following a clean sweep in the Guinness Series and their RBS 6 Nations Championship win, the Ireland men’s team has been recognised as the 2014 Team of the Year. gaining 38% of the vote.
They beat their female counterparts into second place (20%).
The women’s team finished fourth at this year’s Rugby World Cup, beating New Zealand along the way.
Unsurprisingly, after a superb November, the Rugby World Cup is the sporting event that is getting the country most excited in the year ahead. 25% responded that it was the event they were most looking forward to in 2015 with a further 17% naming the RBS 6 Nations.
Rugby’s popularity is also emphasised by the fact that the two most admired sports-men in Ireland participate in the oval ball game.
The recently retired Brian O’Driscoll took 14% of the votes with Ireland captain Paul O’Connell just behind on 12%. However it is Katie Taylor that is Ireland’s Most Admired Sports Star of 2014. 34% of respondents ranked her at number one.
Others included world number one golfer Rory McIlroy on 6%. Robbie Keane was the highest placed soccer player on 6% with Henry Shefflin the highest placed GAA star on 3%.
Speaking on behalf of the 2014 Team of the Year, Ireland team manager Michael Kearney said: “2014 was a fantastic year for Irish rugby. The support of Ireland fans at the Aviva Stadium over the course of the last twelve months has been immense.
“As the group head into a challenging and very busy 2015, we hope that we can continue to improve and produce performances that fans can get excited about.”
Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of PSG Communications, added: “The Irish rugby team is the Team of the Year by some distance and the country is obviously excited for the 2015 World Cup after a brilliant 2014.
“In Joe Schmidt’s first full year in charge they have been crowned Six Nations champions and beat South Africa and Australia in the autumn.
“It was encouraging to see the Ireland Women’s rugby team and Cork Ladies footballers poll so highly in the research which possibly illustrates a greater appreciation of female sports teams amongst the general population.”