Irish Sport on Social Media – July 2020

In July 2020, we welcomed Canoeing Ireland into the fold as one of the 30 organisations analysed as part of the monthly Sport for Business / Olytico analysis.

These sports organisation members of Sport for Business published over 5,800 social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, an increase of nine per cent on June, and a welcome reversal in trend post lockdown.

The 5,820 posts analysed generated over 1.5 million engagements in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets (an increase of 39 per cent on June), and whilst a number of these engagements can be attributed to the Irish public paying tribute to Jack Charlton, the increase also reflects a shift back to ‘normal’ as more sporting bodies and organisations are able to return to action.

There is still a long way to go, however.  A look back on July 2019 shows that the number of posts 10,755 posts generated by a slightly smaller number of organisations, generating almost 1.8 million engagements.

Instagram continues to top the charts for engagements (likes and comments) in 2020, and July saw a 25 per cent increase in engagements across the platform (from 781,764 to 977,449).

Its overall share of engagements though fell from 71 per cent to 64 per cent with Twitter enjoying a five per cent rise (to 15 per cent share of overall engagement) with Facebook remaining relatively stable at 21% of overall engagement.

In the month in which the Irish public celebrated Jack Charlton’s life and the impact he had on the fortunes of the Republic Of Ireland football team, it’s perhaps no surprise his passing and the memories of Italia ’90 and USA ’94 were responsible for the uplift in social media engagements in July.

FAI tributes to ‘Big Jack’ were the most engaged with content across Twitter, Facebook and
Instagram in the analysis for July 2020. In the infographics below, we have ranked each of the organisations across a range of metrics on each network, including the most active, the most engaged, and the most engaging content.

Look back on the highlights of the #SportForBusinessSocialMedia webinar from April 2020

It is important to note that this analysis is based on publicly available data. It does not include any analysis or insight on paid or promoted content.

July 2020 Highlights on Twitter

2,700 tweets were sent by member organisations in July, six per cent up on June. Twitter’s value and reach shone through in July 2020 as engagement figures doubled to over 230,000.

As the International season got underway, Cricket Ireland broke into the top three for the first
time since April, their 266 posts pushing Ulster Rugby down into 3rd place (238 posts).

Cricket Ireland’s socially distanced squad photo ahead of the ODI series against England was to be their most engaged with content, with live match updates accounting for the five-fold increase in output.

Basketball Ireland continued their rise up the table into 9th place with a 19 per cent increase in content as they announced plans to refurbish the National Basketball Arena and the change of format for the Men’s Super League and Division 1.

Horse Sport Ireland jumped from 20th to 12th position, their output and engagements peaked on the 19th July with the Horse Sport Ireland Premier Series Grand Prix in Barnadown.

New Sport for Business members Canoeing Ireland posted on 41 occasions throughout July, their highest engagements coming from a tweet recognising 8 years to the day that Hannah Craig made history, becoming the first Irish woman to make a canoe slalom Olympic Final at London 2012.

For the fourth month in a row, the FAI claimed the top spot in the Twitter Engagement rankings. Their top 10 tweets for July all celebrated Jack Charlton’s life and involvement with the FAI, generating a massive 108,507 public engagements (92,000+ likes and just under 16,000 retweets and comments).

The most engaged with tweet which included a compilation video of Big Jack’s best moments in charge (viewed closed to 800,000 times at the time of publication) generated close ton 26,000 likes and 7,500 retweets and comments alone.

The FAI (with an average of 2011 engagements per post) were followed by the IRFU (99), Leinster Rugby (83), Munster Rugby (77), Connacht Rugby (48), Cricket Ireland (44) and Ulster Rugby (31).


July 2020 Highlights on Facebook

Facebook posts increased nine per cent in July, with the channel’s output nearly returned to pre-Covid levels.

There was no change in the top two placings as for the fourth month in a row the GAA
topped the activity tables (up 20 per cent with 418 posts) with Horse Racing Ireland in second for the second month in a row (up 45 per cent with 287 posts). They were joined by Athletics Ireland in third with 151 posts.

As the action returned to the field, the GAA’s activity peaked on the 24th July, with their most
engaged with content that day being highlights of a goal from Kilmallock’s Oisín O’Reilly.

Facebook engagements increased by a massive 58 per cent over the month of June, rising from 203,955 to 321,368. For the second month in a row, the top three places were taken by the FAI, Leinster Rugby and Connacht Rugby.

Connacht saw a 13 per cent increase on their engagements per post, the third monthly increase in a row for the province.

Triathlon Ireland made the top 10 for the first time in 2020 with a 56 per cent increase in average engagements per post (from 32 in June to 50 per post in July) driven by the return to action with the Hardman Ireland Skellig Half, the first triathlon of 2020.

For the fourth month in a row, the FAI had the single most engaged with piece of content. A video of Jack Charlton’s last visit to the Aviva Stadium and the standing ovation he received pre-match generated over 33,000 likes, 1,400 comments and was shared over 12,000 times.

For context, this is five times the engagement of June’s top content from Facebook.


July 2020 Highlights on Instagram

For the second month in a row, Horse Racing Ireland top the Instagram Activity charts. Their 119 posts represented a 13 per cent increase on their output from June with their highest engagement coming from a post celebrating the career of Barry Geraghty as he announced his retirement.

Once again Athletics Ireland (107 posts) and Leinster Rugby (85 posts) were in second and third, with Athletics Ireland celebrating Ciara Mageean breaking the Irish 800m, becoming the first Irish female athlete to break two minutes for 800m (2,470 public engagements) and Leinster Rugby’s #IconicLeinsterTry content driving their engagements in June.

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association account re-entered the top 5 with a 20 per cent increase in output in July.

Other stand-out performances included Munster Rugby (an increase of 48 per cent on June), along with Volleyball Ireland and Rowing Ireland who both doubled their Instagram output.

Volleyball Ireland launched their first Junior Beach Tour at Bettystown Beach and Rowing Ireland marked the ‘One Year to Go’ until Tokyo 2020.

Instagram posts rose 21 per cent from June (725 to 880 posts) and this resulted in a 25 per cent increase in engagements to 977,449 – the highest figures since March 2020.

The top three engagement spots were filled by the FAI, Irish Rugby and Leinster Rugby. In previous months, Irish Rugby’s average of 4,441 engagements per post would have seen them top the charts.

Ireland Lacrosse, with an increase of 51 per cent for average engagements per post (from 168 to 253); Cricket Ireland (+37 per cent) and Horse Racing Ireland (+11 per cent) all had impressive months.

The most engaged with piece of Instagram content for July was the FAI’s post announcing the
passing of Jack Charlton – the post generated close to 40,000 public engagements, with the public as well as players that played under Jack sharing memories and stories from a golden era.

If you would like to be part of the Sport for Business community and be added to the list, email us today and let’s see what is possible. If you would like a more detailed analysis of your social media activity, contact

Read more of our Social Media Coverage on Sport for Business


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