Sports is a big industry, and there are fans around the world that will tune in from anywhere to get involved. We find our inspiration and heroes in the sporting arenas worldwide, and Ireland is no different. Ireland has had a number of sporting heroes over the years, from world boxing champions to Olympic gold medallists. Despite Ireland having a relatively small population, it’s always been able to compete with the best of the best.
There are many inspirational athletes in Irish sport, and these sports stars are responsible for making young people feel inspired to go on and do something amazing in their lives. Let’s take a look at some of the most inspirational athletes that Ireland has developed!
Golf is huge around the world, and this PGA golfer has won back to back Open titles in 2008 and 2009. During 2008 he also won the PGA Championship, making that a year to celebrate. Harrington has represented Europe for the Ryder Cup more than once and has won it four times already. World Cup Golf is a thing, and he lifted the cup in 1997 with Paul McGinley. His significant achievements also include a previous pairing with Tiger Woods, and he has done this more than five times!
Back in the 1990s, Sonia O’Sullivan was Ireland’s premier sportswoman, winning medal after medal in the Olympic Games, European Championships and World Championships. Over the course of her whole career, she has pulled in eight gold, six silver and two bronze medals at some of the most important athletic contests around the world. O’Sullivan still holds the current world record for 2000m at 5:25:36 and a 2 mile run at 9:19:56. Officially retiring from the sport in 2007, O’Sullivan is now commentating for RTE Sport, further inspiring young people.
During the 1980s, Kelly was a successful road cyclist who held the number one position for six years, winning 193 races throughout his long career. There are 14 stages of the Tour de France, and Kelly has won them all. Temporary-born Kelly worked on a farm before becoming one of the most famous sportsmen Ireland had ever seen.
A firm football fan favourite, Keane was the captain of the Irish soccer team during the 1990s and early 200s. Born in Cork, he was an intimidating midfielder, and he captained Manchester Utd when they were at their peak. Through his management, Manchester Utd won seven Premier League titles and four FA Cups. In 2013, Keane was the national side’s assistant manager.
One of the most famous and talented soccer players to come from Ireland, Best was with Manchester Utd when he won the European Cup and scored a grand total of 137 goals with them. He was the very first celebrity footballer and was known in the media for his party lifestyle. Prior to his death, he was still one of the most influential soccer players to emerge from Ireland!