Ireland’s best sportspeople

As it is St Patrick’s Day, here is a look at five of the best sporting talents from past and present to come out of both Northern and Republic of Ireland.

Brian O’Driscoll

Rugby star O’Driscoll has 103 caps for Ireland, captaining his nation on 67 occasions, scoring 40 tries, more than any player to represent Ireland. He is also the highest scoring centre in Rugby Union history, has scored more Six Nations tries than any other Irishman and more Heineken Cup tries.

George Best

The greatest footballer to come out of Ireland, Best is also known for his time with Manchester United where he won the European Cup in 1968 and was named the European footballer of the year in 1968. He represented Northern Ireland 37 times, scoring nine goals and was one of the first celebrity footballers, earning himself the nickname ‘The fifth Beatle’, due to his party lifestyle.

Katie Taylor

Perhaps a surprising choice, but one from the current crop of Irish talent who couldn’t be left out. As an amateur boxer, Taylor won five consecutive women’s World Championship golds, six European Championship golds as well as the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. After turning professional in 2016, Taylor has already become a world champion, claiming the WBA lightweight belt in October 2017.

Padraig Harrington

A professional golfer, Padraig Harrington has won three major championships, the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, and the PGA championship, also in 2008. He is considered by most to be Ireland’s greatest ever golfer.

Joey Dunlop

Dunlop was a world champion motor-cyclist, mainly known for road racing. He won three hat-tricks at the Isle of Man TT meeting, where he won a record 26 races. He also won the Ulster Grand Prix 24 times, and in 1986 won a record fifth consecutive TT Formula One world title. In 2005, Dunlop was named the fifth greatest motorcycling icon ever by Motorcycle news.

Edited by Toby Oliver

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