WATCH: Ireland's bittersweet sporting year summed up perfectly by top betting surprises 2 years ago

WATCH: Ireland's bittersweet sporting year summed up perfectly by top betting surprises

2016 loved an upset... or 10.

It was the year of the underdog and although this tiny island on the periphery of Europe has become accustomed to defying the odds in the sporting sense, a lot of Irish athletes were on the losing side of some of the year's biggest upsets.

Irish fans endured the heartbreak of Michael Conlan's robbery at the Rio Olympics and Conor McGregor's humbling beatdown at the hands of Nate Diaz at UFC 196. However, they also enjoyed the elation of the national team scoring an 11/4 upset win over Italy at the Euros, while Westerners witnessed Galwegian trainer Mouse Morris completing a staggering 578/1 Grand National double and 66/1 outsiders Connacht claim their first ever Guinness PRO12 title.

At the very top of the pile was a positive note as the rugby team proved the power of persistence as they claimed their first ever victory over the mighty All Blacks in Chicago's Soldier Field. It was 111 years coming, but it was certainly worth the wait as Ireland blazed past the world cup holders 40-29 in the windy city, in a surprise deemed by Ladbrokes to be more shocking than Donald Trump becoming the leader of the free world and the UK voting to leave the EU.