Taken from Peter O’Neill’s 2013 book Portlaoise G.A.A. ‘One moment in time’ – A Pictorial Collection of “The Town” 1887 – 2013 – an extract from the Secretary’s Report of Bill Phelan at the 1981 A.G.M
1981 was indeed a historic and most successful one for our club. For the first time in the history of Laois G.A.A the senior double was achieved. Portlaoise became the first club to achieve this amazing double, when our hurlers after a splendid year bridged the 38 year gap between 1943 and 1981 defeating Camross and our Footballers after a one year gap defeated Graiguecullen.
The Hurling Trainer was Tom Lalor with mentors Billy Bohane, Jimmy Doyle, John Keenan, Peadar Molloy, and Jimmy Lalor with Assistant Secretary Paddy Critchley.
The footballers who are waiting to play the Leinster Final were looked after by Teddy Fennelly, James O Reilly, Mick McDonald, Paschal Delaney and Bill Phelan. Our Intermediates lost out to O Dempsey’s in the Championship. Our Minor Hurlers were beaten by eventual Champions Rathdowney. Better news for the Minor Footballers who defeated Portarlington in the final. Management team, B. Phelan, P. Carroll and J. Dunne.
Our Under 16 Footballers lost out to Portarlington in the final while our Under 16 Hurlers made amends and defeated Mountrath in their final, this team was looked after by O Byrne, Carroll and J. Dunne.
At under 14 level it was the best year ever winning the football and hurling championships and All Ireland Féile Na Gael title. The Footballers defeated Portarlington in the final while our Hurlers defeated Castletown. The Féile boys defeated a fancied Lismore of Waterford to win the title in Pearse Stadium Galway. Ollie Byrne must be thanked for the great work he has done with the Under 14s.
The annual dinner dance was held in our new facilities which we opened during the year. I must pay tribute to our development committee chaired by P. Dowling, Secretary B. Delaney and their financial controller J. Cotter. The men of 1943 were honoured on the night 8/12/81. On the night there were 11 sets of medals presented.
One other pleasant occasion far away in Chicago during a Laois Football trip Teddy Fennelly along with some Portlaoise people made a presentation to Fr.Matt Walshe who lives and ministers in a parish some one hundred miles south of Chicago.
I must pay thanks to our Social committee headed up by T. Keogh who is doing a fine job.
During 1981 many of our players assisted the various county teams at all grades. I would like to congratulate in particular our members who helped Laois reach the National League and the Leinster semi finals namely, B. Bohane, J. Bohane, P.Critchley, S. Plunkett, M. Keegan, J. Taylor and our footballers who helped Laois reach the Leinster Final namely B. Conroy, G. Browne, C. Browne, E. Whelan, T. Prendergast and J. Lewis.
Before concluding I would like to thank the officers of the County Hurling, Football and Juvenile boards, and the fixture committee for the co-operation during 1981 last but not least I thank my fellow officers during 1981. Our Chairman (Teddy Fennelly) is one of the finest in the Association and is indeed an inspiration to his fellow workers, our vice Chairman Jas O’Reilly has proved himself to be an invaluable organiser and committed tireless worker. In Dick Sides we have an outstanding Treasurer and “Portlaoise man “
Beannach Dé Oraibh go leir an obair