AIB recently launched The Toughest Season photobook and a Laois man’s photos feature.
The book is a pictorial account of how hurling, football and camogie communities came together to support one another throughout one of the toughest years in history – the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inspired by the strength of spirit within Gaelic Games communities, AIB partnered with Sportsfile, the GAA and the Camogie Association, to publish The Toughest Season, which captures in 120 images the resilience of clubs, fans, and communities before, during and after the COVID 19 lockdown.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the AIB Together Fund supporting Age NI, Alone, FoodCloud, Soar and Pieta House.
Featuring in The Toughest Season are photos submitted by Laois GAA PRO Paul Dargan.
The Graiguecullen native, who owns his own Kilkenny based company called Sign and Design, has become a well known figure throughout the country for his wonderful pictures from sporting events.
Paul’s photo that made the cut features Graiguecullen couple Paul and Patricia Hayden.
They are captured overlooking Fr Maher Park in Graiguecullen. Paul is sitting up on the wall and his wife Patricia is sitting out of the back window of the house.
They are two of the lucky few who are able to watch this particular game as it was was being held behind closed doors.
In the first few weeks of the first lockdown, 9,000 GAA club members provided support for almost 35,000 people – and it is that spirit that the book hopes to capture.
Earlier this autumn, AIB called on those across the country to take part by submitting their own images that depict their experience of ‘the toughest season’.
Along with Sportsfile imagery, the book is comprised of photographs from individuals, like Paul, across Ireland who have visually shared their own stories.
AIB CEO Colin Hunt said: “The Toughest Season is a vivid celebration of all that is great about Gaelic games and the communities in which they live and thrive.
“This book captures not just remarkable athletic skills in adverse conditions but also how GAA clubs reacted during the pandemic to support those in need in their communities.
“You will see in this book the emotion generated within communities by on-field victory and defeat. But, off the pitch, you will also see club members getting together to ensure meals were delivered to homes during lockdown.
“This community spirit and resilience is the embodiment of the GAA and what makes it such an immense organisation by any standards.”