Jonathan Sexton Fancied For RTE Sportsperson Of The Year Award
There might be many more months of sporting action still remaining, but that hasn’t stopped there being an interest in the destination of the RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year gong for 2023.
It promises to be an eventful year for Irish sport on multiple fronts with several big tournaments and events coming fast on the horizon and betting sites will be keeping their eyes peeled as the action progresses.
Since the RTÉ Sports Awards were first established in 1985, there have been a number of multiple winners of the Sportsperson prize. Sitting on top of the list with five victories is Sonia O’Sullivan.
A legendary athlete who picked up a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Cork native O’Sullivan won it for three years running from 1993 through to 1995.
Golfer Pádraig Harrington and boxing phenomenon Katie Taylor are three-time winners, while Harrington’s sporting ally Rory McIlroy has won it on two occasions.
Sexton A Possibility For A Second Win
Following in the footsteps of Ralph Keyes, Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Sexton became the fourth rugby player to win the Sportsperson award in 2018.
In addition to securing major silverware with both Leinster and Ireland in that particular calendar year, Sexton was also named World Rugby Player of the Year.
Set to turn 38 in July, Sexton is continuing to exert a major influence on Irish rugby as he guided his country to a Six Nations Grand Slam triumph in March.
A groin injury will more than likely bring his Leinster career to an abrupt halt, but he is expected to regain fitness in time for this year’s World Cup before eventually stepping into retirement.
As well as being Europe’s top team as a result of their exploits in the Six Nations, Ireland are currently the number one ranked side in international rugby and one of the favourites in the 2023 Rugby World Cup betting.
If their World Cup campaign is a success - whether that be finally reaching the last-four of the tournament or an outright win - then Sexton’s chances of being named Sportsperson of the Year will be strong and they current 2/1 odds available certainly won't be there.
Taylor Another Likely Contender
The current holder of the crown, the aforementioned Katie Taylor was also named the RTÉ SPOTY in 2012 and 2020.
Whereas her first victory was as a consequence of claiming a gold medal at the London Olympics, her latter triumphs are due to performances in the professional boxing ranks and Taylor is available 5/2 to do it again this year.
Although a hotly-anticipated rematch with Amanda Serrano at Croke Park is off the table for the time being - it could yet happen later in the year - she will pit her wits against Chantelle Cameron at the nearby 3Arena in Dublin on May 20.
The Bray native is favourite for the bout with the best boxing betting sites and she will be fighting for six titles in her bout with the British boxer - five of which she has retained in her last seven outings.
If she was to maintain her unbeaten record to date on more than one occasion in 2023, it might be enough to see her adding another Sportsperson of the Year award to her ever-expanding trophy cabinet.
McIlroy Could Well Figure Again In Sportsperson Ranks
The youngest winner of the award at 22 years of age in 2011 - for winning the US Open - Rory McIlroy also secured the Sportsperson honours in 2014.
This was a year when he won two majors and also helped Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup.
2022 saw him being nominated as Sportsperson of the Year for the first time in seven years, which was entirely unsurprising when you consider he moved back to first in the world rankings for the ninth time in his career.
Recently he has risen from third to second in the rankings and with lots of high-quality golf still to play in 2023 (including the Ryder Cup from September 29 - October 1 in Italy), an in-form McIlroy would certainly be worthy of consideration on specials betting sites at odds of 4/1.
McCabe And Adeleke Two Of Ireland’s Most Prominent Sportswomen
This summer will be a big one for Dublin’s Katie McCabe as she is set to lead the Republic of Ireland soccer team into battle for the very first time at the World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand.
It has already been a successful year on the club front for McCabe as she was part of an Arsenal side that claimed the FA Women’s League Cup against Chelsea at Selhurst Park earlier this month. The Gunners are also challenging strongly for the Women’s Super League.
However, if the Irish skipper can defy the odds of 5/1 on the best football betting sites and can guide her country to the knockout rounds in their maiden appearance at the World Cup, then she will have a major claim for the Sportsperson of the Year prize.
The RTÉ Young Sportsperson of the Year winner in 2022, athlete Rhasidat Adeleke (6/1) looks set for a big 2023 on the track.
She recently made history at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships by becoming the first Irish athlete to medal in a sprint event.
This alone should keep her in the reckoning for the Sportsperson categories and with the World Athletics Championships taking place in Budapest this coming August, there is more to come from the Tallaght star.
Blackmore And McClenaghan Amongst Those Who May Be In Contention
Meanwhile, 2021 winner Rachael Blackmore (8/1) continues to clobber horse racing betting sites and her victory in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle aboard Honeysuckle (bringing the curtain down on a glittering career for the acclaimed horse in the process) at the recent Cheltenham Festival shouldn’t be forgotten come later in the year.
Finally, Newtownards’ Rhys McClenaghan is hoping to build on his majestic success at the 2022 FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championship - when he became Ireland’s first world champion in the sport of gymnastics and you'll also find him in the market at 8/1.
* Reminder: These are hypothetical odds provided by industry experts.
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