With sport gradually returning throughout the month, it was unsurprising that May 2021 saw an increase in activity across the Sport for Business member organisations. With over 8,000 posts, over 2 million engagements and numerous successes for Irish athletes, May’s analysis points to a positive outlook for Irish sport.

Olytico analysed the performance of 31 members of Sport for Business in May. Collectively, they published over 8,000 posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The 8,289 posts analysed (a 22 per cent increase on the previous month, and the highest level of activity since November 2020) generated 2,027,036 engagements (a very slight decrease of less than 0.5 per cent) in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets.

Activity across Facebook and Twitter rose compared to the previous month (Facebook posts were up 41 per cent and the number of Tweets increased by 18 per cent), whilst Instagram activity decreased 2 per cent.

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.

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. When % figures are used (unless otherwise stated), they refer to the previous month’s figures.


May 2021 Highlights on Twitter




Over 4,300 tweets were sent by member organisations in April, an 18 per cent increase on the previous month (from 3,638 to 4,301) which resulted in a 4 per cent increase in engagements for the platform (from 232,042 to 240,993).

Twitter’s share of overall posts fell slightly in April, down 2 per cent to 52 per cent overall, however, this was not reflected in the platform’s share of engagement which rose by 1 per cent from 11 per cent to 12 per cent).

Ladies Football topped the Twitter activity charts for the first time, their 494 posts (+267 per cent) held off Cricket Ireland (470 posts, their highest ever level of activity) and the GAA (469 posts), who returned to the top three for the first time since December 2020.

The Ladies Football account celebrated the announcement of TG4’s major increase in coverage of the 2021 Lidl Ladies National Football Leagues from four to ten games alongside the confirmation of the live-streaming of 50 games, meaning that fans can watch all 60 games live and for free.


Special Olympics Ireland (143 posts, +33 per cent) rose to 11th, their highest position since June 2020 as they set out to raise €200,000 with their #CantStopNow campaign while Paralympics Ireland (128 posts, +284 per cent) enjoyed their highest ever position of 12th as they kept fans up to date with the success of their athletes at the Europeans in Madeira.

The FAI continues to dominate the Twitter engagement table, finishing top with an average of 378 engagements per post. They held off Athletics Ireland (161) and Irish Rugby (121) to keep hold of the top spot.

As was forecast last month, Athletics Ireland enjoyed a bumper month on social media, their 161 average engagements per post the best result they have seen to date, thanks in part to the success of the mixed 4x400m relay team qualifying for the Olympics at the World Relays in Silesia – this tweet alone generated over 3,400 likes and 260+ retweets.



As we approach the rescheduled Olympic Games it is little surprise to see the Irish Olympic national governing bodies performing well, with athletes striving to reach Tokyo. Team Ireland, in 4th place overall, and their highest position ever averaged close to 90 engagements per tweet throughout the month of May, and like Athletics Ireland, their top Twitter engagement came from results in Silesia as the #TeamIreland 4x 200m finished 2nd at the #WorldRelays with a National Record of 1:35.93  – this celebratory tweet alone generating close to 4,000 engagements.

Swim Ireland (12th in the engagement table with 44 engagements per post, +36 per cent) celebrated Tanya Watson becoming the first Irish female diver in history to qualify for the Olympic Games and Triathlon Ireland (13th place with 42 engagements per post) toasted Carolyn Hayes as she finished 2nd only to the Olympic Champion Nicola Spirig at the Lisbon World Cup event in a career-best performance.

With Dan Martin winning Stage 17 of the Giro D’Italia (188 engagements) and Nicholas Roche finishing third in Stage 18 (274 engagements) Cycling Ireland had plenty to celebrate.

Vision Sports Ireland, newcomers to the analysis, enjoyed a successful month as they increased their average engagements per tweet by 59 per cent thanks to their #mayfest40 activity.

The most engaged with Twitter content for May came from the FAI as they celebrated the life of Alan McLoughlin. Fondly remembered for scoring the goal at Windsor Park that secured Ireland’s place at the 1994 World Cup, the FAI’s tweet generated over 10,000 engagements.


May 2021 Highlights on Facebook



Facebook activity increased by 41 per cent in May (from 2,046 to 2,889), the largest increase across all three platforms which resulted in a 25 per cent increase in engagements (from 253,000 to close to 317,000). The platform’s share of overall posts in May rose by 5 per cent to 35 per cent with its share of engagement rising 4 per cent to 16 per cent overall, the second month in a row the platform has increased its share of engagement.

Cricket Ireland continued their impressive month on social media as they topped the Facebook activity charts with 457 posts, the first time back in the top three since January (259 posts). Updates and highlights from the Super Series and the Women’s team’s Series victory against Scotland drove activity during the past month. The GAA (402 posts, +287 per cent) and Leinster Rugby (259 posts) completed the top three.

Athletics Ireland in 8th (104 posts, +32 per cent) and Basketball Ireland in 10th (88 posts, +35 per cent) also saw notable increases in May.

Irish Rugby continued to top the overall Facebook engagement charts with an average of 550 interactions per post; and whilst this was 41 per cent down on April, the news of eight Irish Lions was enough to hold off the FAI (407, +234 per cent), Athletics Ireland (288, +442 per cent) and Team Ireland (267, +522 per cent).

Triathlon Ireland (244 posts) finished in 6th place, their highest ever finish thanks in part to Carolyn Hayes’ achievements in Lisbon while Pentathlon Ireland (99 posts, +60 per cent) finished in 11th as they celebrated great performances by Natalya Coyle who finished 5th and Sive Brassil who finished in 25th at the UIPM – World Pentathlon World Cup Final against a world-class field.

Rowing Ireland in 9th place (152, +39 per cent) were able to celebrate an additional two boats qualifying for Tokyo via the Olympic Qualification Regatta, meaning that there will now be six boats representing Ireland in Tokyo this summer.


The IRFU’s post celebrating the inclusion of 8 Irish players in Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad to take on World Champions South Africa proved to be the most engaged with post on the platform in May, generating over 5,600 reactions, 190+ comments and the post was shared on over 300 occasions.


May 2021 Highlights on Instagram



Instagram saw a 2 per cent decrease in posts compared to April, (down from 1,116 to 1,099) and overall engagements fell 5 per cent for the platform (from 1.54 million to 1.47 million). As a result, Instagram’s share of posts fell 3 per cent to 13 per cent, the platform’s lowest share since November 2020; with its share of engagements falling to its lowest level (72 per cent) since September 2020.

Cricket Ireland (158 posts, +465 per cent) topped the Instagram activity charts for the first time, followed by Munster Rugby (95, +4 per cent) and Leinster Rugby (81, -64 per cent).

Irish Rugby retained their top place in the Instagram engagement charts for the eighth month in a row, with an average of 4,384 engagements per post (+38 per cent), closely followed by the FAI (4,273, +54 per cent) and the GAA (2,931, +2 per cent).

The Camogie Association rose to ninth in the engagement table with an average of 879 engagements per post (+246 per cent), as they highlighted some of the Playing Rule Changes for 2021.

Canoeing Ireland’s engagement on the platform increased 47 per cent compared to April as they celebrated Jenny Egan’s comeback with a 2nd place finish in the 5,000m at the recent World Cup event.

The top Instagram post for May generated over 28,500 likes and comments, as the IRFU congratulated the eight Irish Lions picked for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa this summer.




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 stephen@olytico.com


Olytico and the sporting organisations featured here are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.


Sport for Business Partners