The list has just grown a little bit longer, in terms of Incredible Moments in Sport for 2016. Today, the Irish rugby team gained their very first win over the New Zealand All Blacks–which has taken them over 111 years of trying.

Moments like this have become more common in 2016. Maybe the stars have aligned, but the stories behind teams winning is riveting, and is what sport is famous for. The underdog beating the champion, the stories about ‘curses broken’ or bad luck in general removed from the record books has dominated sports news this year.

It all makes for a wonderful reason to enjoy, and support your team in every game they play. Remember ‘anything can happen’.

 A win for the ages: Ireland, Cubs, Sharks, Cavs and Leicester

For the supporters of teams who are yet to win any championship; in any sport, the lesson is one of ‘perseverance’. If it takes 111 years, 108 years for the Chicago Cubs or 50 years for the Cronulla Sharks, the result can be achieved.

It's gonna happen
Chicago Cubs’ fans celebrate (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You might use these results as an examination of how teams can reach their goals. It covers any sport, and any country. The same reasons mean that North Harbour winning their first Provincial Rugby Championship since 1984 is just as special as Ireland beating the All Blacks. It is all relevant.

No matter the team size, the size of the teams heart will count for more

Heart, passion and culture are all keywords towards reasons that teams win in sport. Where individuals perform in a collective arena, which means so much more to groups than many singular wins. Taking nothing from an athlete winning gold for their country or club; that is superb. But when the whole city or nation supports that single team, it becomes monumental.

When Leicester were leading the English Premier League, it began a swell of support from the city. No matter if they had supported the team since day one; established in 1894, and were renamed Leicester City in 1919. After setting the competition alight, the momentum drew in fans of football, as much as the people of Leicester. The emotion took hold and the elation when the title was claimed was a ‘once in a lifetime’.

Fan moment
Leicester City fans show their emotions as they celebrate victory (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Many will also recall the same support coming from Cleveland Cavaliers fans. In 45 years, they had never claimed the NBA title. Numerous finals appearances, player movements and losing streaks tested fans support, but when the prodigal son LeBron James returned, their fortunes changed. They found a heart, and it brought them a title this year.

The list grew larger today, so Last Word On Sports is pleased to describe some of the ultimate comeback moments in sport, for the year of 2016 [and ever].

2016 Team – Competition – Years taken to win:

Ireland | International Test rugby | 111 years

Chicago Cubs | Baseball World Series | 108 yrs

Cronulla Sharks | NRL Rugby League | 50 yrs

Leicester City | EPL Football | 97 yrs (est. 1919)

Cleveland Cavaliers | NBA Basketball | 47 yrs

North Harbour | National Provincial Championship | 34 yrs

Other notable winning sides:

Greek National Soccer | UEFA Euro 2004 |  84 yrs (est. 1920)

Boston Red Sox | Baseball World Series 2004 | 86 yrs

Team GB | Davis Cup Tennis 2015 | 77 yrs

Blackburn Rovers | First Division Football 1995 | 81 yrs

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Incredible Moments in Sport for 2016

Other sports, and other sports teams will, and have had some fantastic results over the years. Fans can run off names of famous jockeys, race car drivers, or sports teams that have finally achieved their goals. It shows the determination needed in any goal–dedication is one principal component. That applies to teams, as much as to supporters.

For a team like Ireland, this result can inspire the nation, and inspire other teams and sports people. ‘If they can do it, then we can’ is what will be said on Monday and it can help their Women’s rugby side, cricket teams/cycling teams or individuals to hold their dreams.

It will also apply to fans. If the drought can end after 111 years, then loyalty is rewarded. ‘Stick with your team’ is the message, and the joy that Irish, Cubs and Leicester fans had in 2016 is memorable. They were Incredible Moments in Sport, and incredible moments in fans lives too.

Sport can often end in dismay. Dreams can be dashed all too easily, but often it celebrates the character of the team, the players and management. It gives fans the same sense of pride, and in 2016, many sides have claimed long-term goals.

What a year for dreams to come true.

“Main photo credit”

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