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Rory McIlroy draped in the European flag as part of the winning team on the Ryder Cup team - but will he be draped in the English or Irish flag at the Olympics. Photo by: Action

Katie Taylor, Rory McIlroy and Brian O’Driscoll named as most popular Irish sportspeople of 2012

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Rory McIlroy draped in the European flag as part of the winning team on the Ryder Cup team - but will he be draped in the English or Irish flag at the Olympics. Photo by: Action

Katie Taylor has stolen the hearts of Ireland according to the Pembroke Communications’ Sports Sentiment Index for 2012, while Rory McIlroy and Brian O’Driscoll follow just behind.

According to the survey, 53 percent of Irish think Katie Taylor is the country’s sporting hero while 75 percent believe her gold medal win at the London Olympics was the top sports moment of the year.

Rory McIlroy came in second as the greatest sports star and 16 percent voted his win at the US Open as their sporting highlight. Brian O’Driscoll, the former Irish rugby team captain, came in third.

The Irish Paralympians were voted the greatest Irish sports team, with the Irish Olympic boxing team in second place and the GAA All-Ireland winning Donegal football team coming in third.

For next year the most anticipated sporting event is the Rugby Six Nations, with 22 percent of the vote, while the World Cup qualifiers get 10 percent of the votes.

Here are the survey’s top results:

Who, in your opinion, is Ireland’s greatest current sports star?

53%     Katie Taylor
16%     Rory McIlroy
13%     Brian O’Driscoll
5%      Henry Shefflin
4%      Robbie Keane
3%      Tony McCoy
2%      John Joe Nevin

What was the best/most memorable/iconic sporting moment of 2012?

75%     Katie Taylor winning gold at London 2012
7%       Rory McIlroy winning the US PGA title
6%       Michael McKillop being presented with his gold medal by his Mum
3%       Joe Canning’s last minute equaliser against Kilkenny in the first All-Ireland Hurling Final
3%       Tony McCoy’s win in the Gold Cup
2%       Michael Murphy’s opening goal in the All-Ireland Football Final
2%       Connacht’s first ever win in the Heineken Cup against Harlequins
1%       Sean St Ledger scoring for Ireland at the Euros

In your opinion, which of the following deserve the title of Team of the Year 2012?

38%     The Irish Paralympic team winning 16 medals in London 2012
23%     The Irish Olympic boxing team winning 4 medals in London 2012
14%     Donegal winning Sam Maguire after 20 years
11%     Leinster winning back to back Heineken Cup titles
4%      Kilkenny senior hurling team retaining their All-Ireland title

What, in your opinion, was the greatest Irish sporting achievement of 2012?

60%     Katie Taylor winning the gold at the London 2012 Games
12%     The performance of the Irish Paralympics team in London 2012
6%       Donegal footballers winning the Sam Maguire for the first time since 1992
5%       Rory McIlroy winning the 2012 US PGA Championship 

What sort of impact does Irish sporting success have on the country's reputation overseas?

49%     Meaningful impact
28%     Significant impact
18%     Slight impact
5%      No impact
0%      Negative impact

What sporting event in 2012 provided the most positive image of Irish sport?

40%     Olympics
21%     Paralympics
14%     US PGA Championships (Rory McIlroy)
6%      European Championships (Soccer)
6%      All Ireland Football Final
6%      Irish Open Championship (Golf)
5%      All Ireland Hurling Final

What are you most looking forward to in 2013?

22%     The 6 Nations Championship
19%     The World Cup Qualifying campaign in soccer
15%     The Heineken Cup being hosted in the Aviva Stadium
12%     The All Ireland Football Championship
11%     The All Ireland Hurling Championship
8%      The Cheltenham Festival
5%      The Lions Tour 2013
3%      The 2013 Airtricity League  
 

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