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46% of people think that 2023 will finally be the year in which the Irish men’s rugby team makes it to a World Cup semi-final, according to research carried out as part of Permanent TSB’s “Reflecting Ireland” series on consumer attitudes and behaviour, with men (51%) more confident than women (41%).

The research shows a split between fans over whether Ireland, now ranked number one in the world after a string of major victories in 2022, will end its disappointing run of failing to win a single knock-out game in any of the 9 men’s World Cups that have taken place since 1987.

The team has lost 7 knock-out quarter finals (against Australia in 1987 and 1991; against France in 1995 and 2003; against Wales in 2011; against Argentina on 2015; and against New Zealand in 2019).

The confidence expressed by 46% of people is at odds with Ireland’s tough draw in the tournament.

It will have to emerge as one of the top two from a group featuring current Rugby World Cup holders South Africa as well as Scotland, Tonga and Romania – and then win a quarter-final that is likely to be against either New Zealand (current holders of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship) or France (the host nation, current Six Nations champions and winners of a Grand Slam in 2022).

There is also confidence in the prospects of the Irish women’s football team, as the Girls in Green make history as the first senior Irish women’s team to play in a major tournament when they take part in the FIFA World Cup in Australia & New Zealand. One in four people are backing the team to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament

Permanent TSB’s research also reveals a sense of optimism that Olympic boxing gold medallist Katie Taylor will finally get to fight in a professional bout on home soil, with 53% of people believing it will happen in 2023.

Most people expressed confidence that Croke Park would be the venue for her first professional fight in Ireland.  

Leontia Fannin, Permanent TSB Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, said:

“It’s great to see so many people expressing confidence in Ireland’s World Cup prospects after the team has put away so many heavyweight teams in the last few months – not least New Zealand away – twice - and South Africa and Australia in Dublin.

Our research also shows a massive appetite – and an expectation – around Katie Taylor’s first-ever professional fight in Ireland, and we hope that the huge number of fans she has in Ireland will get their wish fulfilled and a chance to see her in action in Croke Park.

2023 will hopefully be a great year for all Irish sports fans but in Permanent TSB we’re really looking forward to 2024, as proud partners and title sponsors of Ireland’s Paralympic and Olympic teams. We want to wish all our Olympic partners every success in 2023 as they continue their preparations for Paris and we really can’t wait to see them raise the spirits of the nation in 2024.”

Reflecting Ireland is a quarterly research series from Permanent TSB which examines topical issues.  The research was undertaken by Kantar in November 2022 amongst 1,000 adults.

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