Paul O’Connell shoots up ‘admired’ list, survey shows

Rugby player third in sports rankings, as Gaybo takes second spot among broadcasters

Donnacha Ryan pays tribute to his team mate and long time friend, Paul O'Connell, while thanking fans for creating an electric atmosphere during the French game.

 

Injured Rugby World Cup captain Paul O’Connell, now out of the tournament, has made the most gains in public admiration of all Irish sports personalities in 2015, according to the Onside StarTrack survey.

Sponsorship consultants Onside say O’Connell is the third most admired sports star, behind only the retired Brian O’Driscoll and Olympic Gold-winning boxer Katie Taylor. Some 17 per cent of the 1,003 people surveyed chose O’Driscoll, with 11 per cent opting for Taylor and 9 per cent for O’Connell.

Among 18-24-year-olds, it was Taylor and Roy Keane who held the most appeal, according to Onside chief executive John Trainor. Other sports personalities to propel themselves up the public admiration rankings by Onside’s reckoning were mixed martial arts proponent Conor McGregor and football player Robbie Keane.

This year has seen a rise in spending by brands on personality endorsements and the early indications are that 2016 will see a continuation of this trend, says Trainor.

But simply paying a celebrity to market your product is not “an easy win to build brand appeal” and convert it to business growth, he adds. “Low single-digit outcomes are the results for many brands that fail to use this channel built on sound plans.”

Onside also asked people which Irish radio and television personalities they most admired. The Late Late Show’s Ryan Tubridy emerged top ahead of the programme’s original host Gay Byrne, with Miriam O’Callaghan in third.

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