Katie Taylor is one of Ireland's top sports stars (PA Images)
17 March 2020

Five iconic Irish sporting moments to help celebrate St Patrick's day

From horse racing to hockey, boxing to batting, Ireland may be small but when it comes to sport, there is no denying they are mighty.

In celebration of St Patrick’s Day, here are five iconic moments in Irish sporting history.

AP McCoy retires (2015)

AP McCoy wins the 2010 Grand National on Don't Push It (PA Images)

Sir Athony Peter [AP] McCoy retired from horse racing as one of the world's most celebrated jockeys. The Northern Irish rider enjoyed a glittering career that included 31 race wins at Cheltenham, two of which came in the Gold Cup. 

He also notably won the Grand National in 2010 riding Don't Push It, earned a Knighthood in 2016 for his services to horse racing, and was named Sports Personality of the Year in 2010.

Ireland women’s hockey qualify for the Olympics for the first time (2020)

Ireland women managed to exceed expectations after the 2018 World Cup (Twitter: Ireland Women Hockey)

After the game against Canada finished 0-0, Ireland’s women took on a penalty shoot-out in the hopes of reaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which would be a first Olympic qualification for the side.

At 3-3 Canada’s Amanda Woodcroft stepped up to take her penalty but a stunning save from Ayeisha McFerran secured the win and qualification;.

Katie Taylor becomes two-weight world Champion (2019)

Taylor won the WBO belt in the super lightweight division in November (PA Images)

The 2012 Olympic champion beat Christina Linardatou in November on a unanimous decision to claim the WBO super lightweight title and take her pro record to 15-0.

The title is in addition to the undisputed lightweight world champion title she already held.

She is only the third Irish boxer, and first female Irish boxer, to become a world champion at two weights, after Steve Collins and Carl Frampton.

Ireland’s men topple England at the Cricket world Cup (2011)

O'Brien launches a six during Ireland's historic win (PA Images)

Kevin O’Brien smashed the fastest century in World Cup history hitting 113 off 63 balls as Ireland stunned England to win their Group B game with five balls to spare in Bangalore.

England’s Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell all scored fifties as England posted a hefty target of 327-8 from 50 overs.

Ireland slipped to  111-5 but recovered thanks to O’Brien’s brilliance to claim the historic win.

Padraig Harrington wins back-to-back titles at The British Open (2007, 2008)

Harrington kisses the iconic Claret Jug (PA Images)

Harrington became the first European golfer in over a century to retain the Open Championship claiming victory at Royal Birkdale following his historic play-off win over Sergio Garcia at Carnoustie.

He shot two birdies and an eagle on the back nine to finish three under par, four shots ahead of England's Ian Poulter in second place.

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