A RUGBY team, a Moyross granny who raised €1 million for charity, a medal-winning Special Olympian and a young boy with a brain tumour whose bravery lifted the hearts of a community are all among the nominees for this year’s Limerick Person of the Year awards.
The 12 monthly winners, selected by a team of judges from the Limerick Leader, Clarion Hotel and Southern Advertising staff, are all deserving winners of the overall accolade in their own right, which is to be announced at a ceremony in the Clarion next Monday.
Previous winners include JP McManus, Paul O’Connell, Pat Whelan and Professor Paul Finucane, of the University of Limerick medical school.
The idea behind the awards is to celebrate those who have excelled in a particular field or who have made a difference to the lives of others or their own communities.
Limerick Leader editor Alan English said the newspaper took great pride from its association with the awards.
“The Person of the Year awards function is always one of the most enjoyable and uplifting held anywhere in Limerick all year and we are proud to be associated with it,” he explained. “Every month we see the huge pride that people have when they are honoured – it means a great deal to be singled out as a Limerick person who has really made a difference. It’s always extremely difficult to choose one of the 12 monthly winners for the overall award, and that has been the case again this year. But everyone who has been nominated has every reason to be proud, along with their families.”
This year’s nominees are; Joe Cunningham, who is credited with introducing adaptive rowing to clubs around Ireland, and thus improving the lives of people with disabilities immensely; Richard Lynch, whose tireless efforts at promoting Limerick through his ILoveLimerick.com brand have helped to reclaim the region’s reputation; Sarah Hurley, who battled to restore respite services for adults with intellectual disabilities; the Bruff senior team who lifted the Bateman All-Ireland Cup in April; Mount Everest summiteer Mark Quinn, who climbed the world’s tallest peak for charity; Wimbledon and US Open qualifying tennis player Conor Niland; Special Olympian Alan Quinlan, who brought home six medals to his native Cappamore; Ann Boland, who lost her 14 year old son David to a sever asthma attack in 2005 and has campaigned tirelessly for schools and sports clubs across Limerick to be equipped with vital medical equipment; Margaret O’Shaughnessy long serving director of Foynes Flying Boat Museum; Tina O’Gorman who reached her target of €1 million for local charities in October; nine-year-old Adam O’Sullivan from Abbeyfeale whose singing exploits have helped raise €50,000 for sick children; and the voluntary rescue service team - CERT - who patrol the Shannon to search for missing people.