The women’s national football team’s qualification for the World Cup, the enduring popularity of Gaelic Games, Ireland’s first rugby test series win in New Zealand and Katie Taylor’s lasting popularity are all captured in the findings of the 2022 Teneo Sport and Sponsorship Index , which is released this morning.

The Index has been published now for 13 years and provides a snapshot of the sporting moments and characters that have captured the public imagination.

It is a comprehensive 1,000-person nationally representative survey with quotas imposed across gender, region, age, and social class.

The research was carried out by Teneo’s Sports Advisory team and examines the Irish general public’s attitudes towards sport and their sporting heroes.

This is the view of the general public and not a survey of sports fans. It is the 13th year of the TSSI and the research was carried out between November 17th and 25th 2022.


Team Of The Year 2022

The Women’s National Football Team’s historic qualification for the 2023 World Cup saw them voted Team of the Year with 26 percent of the vote.

The Ireland Men’s Rugby Team closed off 2022 as the top-ranked side in the world, and with victories over New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia they were a close second in the vote for Team of The Year on 24 per cent.

The third-placed team was the record-breaking Ireland Women’s Boxing team who backed up a two-gold medal haul at the World Championships in May by travelling to the European Championships in Montenegro and claiming an unprecedented three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Previous Teams of the Year have included Team Ireland at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, The Dublin Men’s Senior Football Team after their six in a row in 2020, the Irish Women’s Hockey team in 2019.

The Men’s Rugby Team won in 2017 and 2018 but then dropped off the list for two years before bouncing back as runner-up last year and again this year.


Most Admired Athlete

Katie Taylor is Ireland’s most admired athlete for the 6th year running with 21 per cent of all votes. The Bray native shared the top spot last year with Kellie Harrington but, having remained active this year with victories over Amanda Serrano and Karen Carabajal, her enduring popularity shows no sign of fading.

She has now topped the poll in each of the last six years.

Rachael Blackmore took the second spot on seven per cent having backed up a successful 2021 by claiming the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard.

Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington, who missed the World Championships due to injury but bounced back to win European gold, was tied on six per cent alongside World Rugby Player of the Year nominee, Jonathan Sexton.

Once again Irish female sports stars are dominating, with three of the top four chosen by the public female.


Greatest Sporting Achievement

Ireland’s first-ever Test Series win over New Zealand was voted the greatest sporting achievement of the year on 22 per cent.

Second and third place were the Ireland Women’s National Football Team who beat Scotland to earn their place at the 2023 World Cup on 13 per cent and Katie Taylor for her Lightweight World Championship win over Amanda Serrano which was the first time a women’s fight had headlined a fight in Madison Square Garden with nine per cent of the votes.

Kellie Harrington and Katie Taylor have shared this accolade between them in each of the last three years with the Men’s Rugby Team last winning, again with a victory over New Zealand, back in 2018.


Favourite Sport 2022

When it comes to the nation’s favourite sports the big three, Football, Rugby and Gaelic Games, dominate the top three spots with some change in the roll of honour over the 13 years of this Index.

Tied for top spot with Football in 2021, Gaelic Games is once again the nation’s favourite in 2022 with 20 per cent, three points ahead of football and seven clear of Rugby.

Tennis is once again the nation’s fourth favourite sport at six per cent, with golf and horse racing closing out the top five on four per cent

When you look at the sports that we “like” it becomes apparent just how deep and wide Ireland’s appetite and enjoyment of sport runs.

The big three sports top the list each year but outside that Tennis, Golf, Horse Racing,  Cycling, Basketball, and Swimming have all featured in the Top Five over the past five years.  Ironically Boxing has not made it onto the list despite the popularity of Taylor and Harrington.


Most Memorable Sporting Moment

Katie Taylor’s split decision win over Amanda Serrano and Ireland’s victory in their third Test against the All Blacks to win the series were the joint most memorable sporting moments of the year on 23 per cent.

Joint third place on 9 per cent went to Shane Lowry for his emotional interview after winning the BMW PGA Championship and Amber Barrett’s goal against Scotland which secured their place at the 2023 World Cup, which she dedicated to the people of Creeslough.

Rhys McClenaghan’s pommel horse performance that landed him, and Ireland’s first ever World Gymnastics gold medal was voted fifth with seven per cent.


Sports Event You’re Most Looking Forward To In 2023

The sights of the nation from a sporting context are on the 2023 Rugby World Cup but to a lesser degree than was the case in 2019.

18 per cent of all adults said was the sporting event they were most looking forward to.  That figure was 26 per cent the last time around in 2019.

The GAA All Ireland Senior Football Championship comes second with 12 per cent of the vote followed by the Six Nations Championship and GAA All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, tied on third place with 11 per cent.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia rounds out the top five with ten per cent, the first time that an exclusively female event has breached the Top Five.


2022 was a phenomenally successful year for Irish athletes and sports teams across the board,” said Kelli O’Keeffe, Managing Director of Teneo Ireland.

“The results of this research demonstrate that women’s sport, and our female athletes, have cemented their place in the psyche of the Irish public for their world-class performances and achievements again this year. “

“The FAI Women’s National Team won the hearts of the nation in qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and we are delighted to see them being voted as the nation’s Team of the Year.”

“Having topped the list of most admired athletes in 2021, Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington and Rachael Blackmore are once again leading the way, along with Jonathan Sexton, as role models for our young boys and girls and ambassadors for the country.”

“Gaelic Games are the nation’s favourite sports and the Ireland Men’s Rugby Team’s Series Win in New Zealand stood out to the public as the greatest sporting achievement in 2022.”

“With the Irish rugby team going into next year as the number one ranked team in the world it comes as no surprise that the 2023 Rugby World Cup is the most anticipated sporting event of next year for Irish people.”

“As a nation, our love and appreciation of sport is evident in the breadth of the findings in the TSSI where the palpable excitement for the GAA Championships, 6 Nations and FIFA Women’s World Cup along with a number of other sports such as boxing, golf, gymnastics, para-sport and tennis all shine through.”


Teneo will present a deeper dive into some of the findings of the survey at our Sport for Business Sporting Year Ahead event to kick start the New Year in January.

Register your interest in attending the event, scheduled to take place in Dublin on January 26th by letting us know your details below.