The 5 Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Ireland

The 5 Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Ireland

Ireland has a long history with betting with many people in the country loving to have a bet.

Various sports have been popular to bet on in Ireland over the years. While relatively new inventions like esports have their fans, plenty of people prefer more traditional sports.

Here are the five most popular sports among people browsing betting sites in Ireland.


As is the case with most countries around the world these days, football tends to dominate when it comes to the top sport to bet on at Irish betting sites.

The Premier League attracts the focus of a lot of football fans in Ireland, many of whom passionately support one of the division's elite sides. Liverpool and Manchester United are among the most popular teams to support in Ireland. As such, betting on the Premier League is very popular in Ireland. Indeed, many top Irish betting sites have regular betting bonuses up for grabs on Premier League betting markets as a result.

European competitions like the Champions League and Europa League are also popular to bet on in Ireland, as well as domestic leagues on the continent like the Bundesliga and Serie A.

Of course, many Irish football fans also want to bet on League of Ireland matches. The best betting sites in Ireland ensure they have good coverage of LOI games, while the Irish national team's games in tournaments like the UEFA Nations League are also worth checking out too.

Horse racing

Horse racing is a close second behind football when it comes to the top sports to bet on in Ireland. The sport of kings is extremely popular in Ireland, which has a few top racecourses.

The Irish horse racing industry is thought to be worth in the region of €1 billion per annum, while the sector is also responsible for the employment of more than 10,000 people in the country.

Much of this is because betting on horse racing is so popular in Ireland. Gambling has long helped to power the industry and many Irish trainers have had success in races both locally and in the UK, as well as all over the world. Irish horses often triumph at the Cheltenham Festival.

The flat racing season in Ireland typically runs from mid-March to mid-November, but there is jump racing action all year round for fans to watch and have a bet on. Two of the top meetings in Ireland for people who want to bet on horse racing are the Punchestown Festival - which takes place in April - and the Galway Races, which is scheduled a few months later in July.


Though it is widely seen as a more middle-class sport than horse racing and football, rugby is also very popular among people looking to place wagers at online betting sites in Ireland.

Irish rugby teams have been extremely successful in the modern era. Ulster won the European Cup in 1999 and this is remembered as the start of a glorious era for the nation's teams. Munster's twin wins in 2006 and 2008 were swiftly followed by a trio of successes for Leinster, who were the European Cup champions in 2009, 2011 and 2012, then again in 2018. However, Leinster were beaten by the French team La Rochelle in the 2022 final of the tournament.

The Irish national team takes part in the Six Nations tournament every spring - Ireland last won it in 2018, when the team claimed the Grand Slam in a glorious outing - as well as the Summer and Autumn test series, while Irish provinces compete in the Pro14 league too. Rugby fans in the country also tend to closely follow the British and Irish Lions team, which goes on tour every four years. The 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa ended in a 2-1 loss so supporters will hope for a better outcome when the side next tours again, which will be in 2025.


Traditional Irish sports are also popular to bet on in Ireland, to various degrees. Hurling and Gaelic football tend to be the top options among them for those seeking to have a bet, but it is also sometimes possible to bet on handball, rounders, camogie and even ladies football.

Gaelic football, often referred to on its own as GAA or simply Gaelic for short, sees more than 80,000 people attend the annual final of the All-Ireland Senior Championship at Croke Park. Dublin had a run of six successive victories in the All-Ireland Senior Championship between 2015 and 2020 but that run of dominance came to an end when Tyrone beat Mayo in 2021.

Hurling, meanwhile, sees its peak in betting interest around the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, with the final held on the third Sunday in August at Croke Park.

The competition is normally dominated by Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary, who are the 'big three'.

Boxing and MMA

Ireland has lots of fight fans with both boxing and MMA very popular to bet on in the country.

The nation has a long and proud history in the sport of boxing, producing elite fighters like Steve Collins - a two-weight world champion who beat both Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank - and Barry McGuigan, who united the country when he travelled to London to beat Eusebio Pedroza and become WBA world featherweight champion in the process. Katie Taylor of Ireland is currently one of the world's top female boxers, with the Bray Bomber a two-weight world champion.

In MMA, Irish interest was lifted by the success of Dublin-born fighter Conor McGregor, who was the first UFC star to hold championships in two weight classes at the same time, though he was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr when he switched over to try boxing.

McGregor has been out of the octagon since July 2021 but there will be huge betting interest when his next fight - rumoured to be against Michael Chandler in 2023 - is set.