Irish Life

A County-By-County Breakdown Of The Top 2018 Irish Sporting Achievements

A County-By-County Breakdown Of The Top 2018 Irish Sporting Achievements

2018 has been a remarkable year for Irish sports, with athletes from all parts of the country contributing to a hugely successful 12 months.

All 32 counties have produced some wonderful feats, and we have rounded up the best of them. Take a look at our county-by-county breakdown of the top Irish sporting achievements.

Antrim: Ayeisha McFerran is voted goalkeeper of the Hockey World Cup

Ayeisha McFerran was absolutely incredible during Ireland's unlikely run to the World Cup final, coming up big in vital moments for the team. She has also been nominated for women's goalkeeper of the year at the Hockey Star Awards.

Armagh: Rory Best captains Ireland to a Grand Slam

Rory Best captained Ireland during what their most successful year, winning a Grand Slam title and defeating the All Blacks on home soil for the first time.

Carlow: Footballers get promoted & reach Leinster semi-final

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It was a stellar year for the Carlow footballers, getting promoted out of Division 4 and beating Kildare to reach the Leinster semi-final. Certainly a team on the rise.

Cavan: Leona Maguire breaks amateur record

In January of this year Leona Maguire broke the record for the longest time spent at the top of the world amateur rankings, spending an incredible 131 weeks in top spot. Having dominated the college game during her time at Duke, she turned pro in June. At only 24-years old, she has an exciting career ahead.

Clare: That comeback against Tipperary

Trailing Tipperary by four points with six minutes to go, Clare looked to be falling to defeat in this Munster SHC game. Tipp almost put the game beyond doubt, but this incredible sequence of play ended with a goal from Ian Galvin.

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The game was turned on its head, and Clare would go on to win by two points.

Cork: O'Donovan Brothers, Sanita Purspure, Mourneabbey win Ladies Club Final, Phil Healy

What a year it has been for Cork. The O'Donovan Brother and Sanita Purspure both won gold at this year's World Rowing Championships, while Mourneabbey ended five years of hurt to claim the All-Ireland Ladies  Club Football Championship.

We also could not leave out Phil Healy, who broke the women's national 100m and 200m records this year.

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Derry: Jason Smyth wins his 17th gold in Berlin

Jason Smyth continued his dominance this year, winning his 17th gold in a para-athletic event during the IPC European Championships in Berlin. He also broke the Championship record in the process, besting the time he himself set in the event 13 years ago.

Donegal: Gaoth Dobhair win Ulster Club title

Gaoth Dobhair became the first Donegal club to win the Ulster title since 1975, defeating Scotstown in a thrilling final. They now have their eyes firmly set towards All-Ireland glory in March.

Down: Rhys McClenaghan gold in European Gymnastic Championships

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McClenaghan won pummel horse gold in both the European Championships and Commonwealth games, on both occasions coming ahead of Olympic champion Max Whitlock in Australia.

Only 19-years old, he was also named RTE young sportsperson of the year.

Dublin: Johnny Sexton named world rugby player of the year, Kellie Harrington wins gold at World Championships

Johnny Sexton was the catalyst for both province and country this year, winning a Grand Slam with Ireland and the Champions Cup with Leinster. He was named World Rugby Player of the Year for his efforts, the first Irishman since Keith Wood to win the award.

Kellie Harrington meanwhile claimed gold at the World Championships in India. She became only the third Irish fighter to win gold at the event, and also the first to reach finals in two different weight classes.

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Fermanagh: Footballers promoted to Division 2 & reach Ulster Final. They also get Arlene Foster to a GAA match!

The Fermanagh footballers enjoyed a stellar year, winning promotion to Division 2 and reaching an Ulster Final. However, their biggest achievement of all may have been getting Arlene Foster to go to a GAA match!

Galway: Damian Browne rows across the Atlantic

Galway native Damian Browne completed his solo row across the Atlantic in February, completing his 63 days, six hours and 25 minutes journey in Antigua. He traveled over 4,800km in what was an incredible feat of endurance.

Kerry: Five Minor All-Ireland football titles in-a-row

Kerry continued their dominance at minor level this year, winning their fifth successive All-Ireland crown. They became the first county to achieve that feat, and the future certainly looks bright in the kingdom.

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Kildare: 'Newbridge or Nowhere'

'Newbridge or Nowhere' was a saga that gripped the nation, and it had the best possible ending for Kildare. Having refused to give up home advantage, they went on to justify their position and knock Mayo out of All-Ireland contention.

Kilkenny: Winning senior/intermediate/junior leinster club hurling titles

Kilkenny clubs experienced remarkable success in the Leinster club hurling championships, producing winners at all three levels. Ballyhale Shamrocks, Graigue-Ballycallan and Dunnamaggin each came out on top in their respective grades, reasserting Kilkenny's status as the dominant county in the province.

Laois: TJ Doheny wins IBF Super Bantamweight title

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TJ Doheny continued his remarkable professional boxing career, moving to 20-0 in his IBF Super Bantamweight title win in Tokyo in August. The Portlaoise native defeated home favourite Ryosuke Iwasa by unanimous decision.

Leitrim: Dearbhla Rooney wins boxing bronze at the Youth Olympic Games

Dearbhla Rooney became just the fourth Irish boxer to win a medal in the Youth Olympic Games, defeating New Zealand’s Te Shelford-Edmonds in the third-place fight in Argentina.

Limerick: All-Ireland hurling champions

Was this one ever in doubt? Limerick claimed their first All-Ireland crown in 35 years, with the final whistle in their final victory over Galway met with emotional scenes by the county's faithful supporters.

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Longford: Mullinalaghta win Leinster

The sporting story of the year? Mullinalghta tore up the record books this year, becoming the first Longford club to claim Leinster glory. Not only this, but they done so despite having a population of only around 400 people. Incredible scenes.

Louth: Dundalk win the double

Dundalk were utterly dominant this year, claiming a league and cup double during what would prove to be Stephen Kenny's final season in charge.

Mayo: Sinead Diver wins Melbourne Marathon

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Mayo-native Sinead Diver won the Melbourne Marathon in October, breaking the event record in the process. Having moved to Australia in 2002, she has competed for her adoptive country since 2015.

Meath: Gordon Elliott and Tiger Roll win at the Grand National

Gordon Eillot enjoyed incredible success in 2018, and none was more impressive than Tiger Roll's win at Aintree in the Grand National. Entering the race as a 10/1 shot, the thoroughbred was ridden expertly by Davy Russel to see off the challenge of Pleasant Company in a photo finish.

Monaghan: Rory Beggan & Aaron McKenna both have stellar years

Rory Beggan was the best goalkeeper in the country this year, winning an All-Star and impressing with his remarkable scoring exploits.

19-year old Aaron McKenna has made waves in the world of boxing, improving his pro record to 6-0 in November. He is one of the rising stars in the sport, having been signed by Golden Boy promotions in 2017.

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Offaly: Shane Lowry finishes 12th at PGA Championship

Shane Lowry had his best ever finish in the PGA Championship this year, coming in tied 12th place. The Clara native has enjoyed a decent record in major competitions in recent times, and will be hoping to make a breakthrough at one of the four flagship events in coming seasons.

Roscommon: Footballers are promoted to Division One of National Football League

Roscommon regained their place in Division One of the league, going up along with Cavan. A disappointing Championship campaign saw the end of Kevin McStay's time in charge, but Anthony Cunningham will be hoping for a big year in 2019.

Sligo: Mona McSharry continues to smash records

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McSharry broke four Irish records in the space of three days at the Irish Short-Course Swimming Championships in Antrim earlier this month. Only 18-years old, the Sligo native shattered the 100 metre freestyle record that stood since 1995.

Tipperary: Padraig McCarthy wins double silver at World Equestrian Games

McCarthy helped Ireland to their most successful showing in Eventing at the games, winning individual and team silver in the US. Having represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016, a medal in Tokyo will now be firmly on his mind.

Tyrone: Jacob Stockdale named player of the Six Nations, Sommer Lecky wins silver in the high jump at World U20 Championships

Jacob Stockdale was the breakout star of this year's Six Nations, scoring seven tries and being named player of the tournament.

Lecky won silver at the World U20 Championships in July, finishing only 2cm behind Karina Taranda of Belarus.

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Waterford: Thomas Barr wins bronze, Sam Bennett wins three stages at the Giro d'Italia

Having come agonisingly close to medal in Rio, Thomas Barr finally made amends this year. He won bronze in the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, becoming the first Irish athlete to win a sprint medal in the event's 84-year history.

Sam Bennett became the first Irishman to win a Giro d'Italia stage in 31 years, winning three in total during this year's event.

Westmeath: Clonkill play despite tragedy, nearly beat Ballyboden

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Westmeath hurling champions Clonkill were placed in an unenviable position this year when 3-year old Annabel Loughlin, the daughter of clubman Enda Loughlin passed away in tragic circumstances. Their game against Ballyboden St Endas was postponed for two days after the event, eventually going ahead with the Loughlin family's blessing.

Entering the game as massive underdogs, Clonkill put forward a tremendous performances, before ultimately losing out in extra-time on what was an emotional night.

Wexford: Wexford Youths Women win the double

The Wexford Youths Women emulated the achievement of Dundalk, winning a league and cup double in 2018. It was their fourth league title in the last five years, and they have firmly asserted themselves as the dominant force in the women's game.

Wicklow: Katie Taylor World title defences, Lara Gillespie wins gold at European Junior Track Cycling Championships

Katie Taylor continued her dominant start to life as a pro boxer, ending the year as WBA and IBF lightweight champion of the world. She won all four of her fights in 2018, bringing her total record to 12-0.

Lara Gillespie meanwhile took a gold and silver medal at the European championships, cementing her status as one of the rising stars in the world of cycling.

SEE ALSO: A Selection Of The Best Sporting Memes Of 2018

Gary Connaughton

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