The front cover of the Offaly Hospice Charity Calendar 2022 which goes on sale this week.

Hospice Calendar celebrates local sporting heroes

The Offaly Hospice Calendar 2022 goes on sale this week and celebrates the achievements of a host of local sporting heroes, including the All-Ireland winning U20 Offaly football team and the four athletes who took part in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The theme for this year’s Calendar, which costs just €5, was devised by Michael Carroll from the Clara Road, who invested a huge amount of time and energy into producing the Calendar and also photographed a number of the athletes who are featured.

Michael came up with the idea of photographing Offaly sporting heroes who helped to lift the spirits of the county and the country, and provided much needed entertainment and inspiration during what was another difficult year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Hospice Calendar, which is a major fundraising stream for the charity, will be on sale in various shops throughout Offaly in the run-up to Christmas, and is also available to purchase online or directly from the Offaly Hospice Charity Shop.

Speaking about the 2022 Hospice Calendar, Michael Carroll said the main aim of this year’s production is “to highlight and celebrate Offaly Sportspeople who are competing at the highest level in their chosen sport. “

He added that 2021 in particular was “a year to remember” with four Offaly Sportspeople representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. All four made Offaly and Ireland proud. Garryhinch's Nicole Turner returning home with a silver medal was a true moment of jubilant celebration. “ We salute all four Olympic heroes, acknowledging their personal sacrifice and commitment to their sport” he added.

Mr Carroll also paid tribute to many other sporting heroes from Offaly are “currently displaying similar levels of dedication and commitment.” He pointed out that, due to space limitations in this year's Calendar, only 12 sports and 100 individuals could be included.

“From our very strong and vibrant GAA community the U20 football team brought All-Ireland success to the county after a long absence. The future of our GAA football and hurling teams is bright. As a sporting fan myself it was fantastic to catch up with the many successful sportspeople featured in the calendar across diverse sports; Athletics, Boxing, Golf, Equestrian, Motorsports, Rugby, Rowing Special Olympics, Soccer and Swimming. We wish them all great success in the future and look forward to watching their careers blossom” he said.

Michael Carroll paid tribute to the many people who assisted him with this year’s Hospice Calendar, from the athletes who took time out from their busy training schedules to pose for photographs to the many people behind the scenes who enabled him to arrange various photo shoots and provide background information on the featured athletes.

He also thanked the following for providing photographs:

•Sinead Toolan, photographs of Offaly GAA football and hurling teams

•Alan Harris, photograph of Offaly Senior Camogie team

•Adrian Martin, photograph of James Dunne

•Laura Doyle, photograph of Offaly Ladies Football team

•Sportsfile, photographs of Nicole Turner, Jordan Conroy, Shane Lowry and Anne Marie McGlynn

•Inphoto, photographs of Megan Burns and Cormac Izuchukwu

•Callie Element, Four Oaks Creative and Sportfot, photograph of Darragh Kenny.

Further information on the sportspeople featured throughout the calendar is provided at the back of the calendar.

Tony McCormack and the team in PrintPlus produced the 2022 Hospice Calendar, and the local Hospice organisation are hoping that the Calendar can be enjoyed in many homes throughout Offaly and add that it would make a wonderful Christmas gift for Offaly people living abroad.

The back cover of the Offaly Hospice Charity Calendar
Pictured outside the Offaly Hospice Shop in Tullamore with the 2022 Hospice Calendar are: (l to r): Michael Carroll, Photographer; Prof Humphrey O'Connor, Chairman Offaly Hospice; Chris Tobin, Offaly Hospice Charity Shop Manager and Mary Henry Offaly Hospice volunteer.

For more information on how to purchase a Calendar contact the local Hospice office on 057 9328634 or call into the Offaly Hospice Shop in Offaly St Tullamore.