There was a press conference held in the Killeshin Hotel in March 1978 revealing future developments of the club. The main speaker was Con Murphy the President of the GAA. Club chairman, Teddy Fennelly, launched the plan and gave details of what was proposed. He said that Portlaoise was looking confidently to the future and that there would be a continuing concentration on nurturing the games and now the club had plans for first-class facilities as well. He stated that the total cost of the new facilities would cost in excess of fifty thousand pounds and that a lot of the work would be done on a volunteer basis. Many fund raising events were also announced.
Mr. Murphy emphasised that Portlaoise, a town of 8,000 people needed this development and the Association were only too willing to support clubs in playing important roles in their communities and planning for the future. He was pleased to see that the CBS and other schools were deeply involved in the club and that women were also involved in the development. They have an important role to play, he said. The President appealed for support from the wider public and especially from the business people of the town.
Chairman of the Leinster Council, Paddy Buggy, a president of the Association in the years ahead, said he was impressed by the way the plans and the campaign was being presented and wished the club the best of success into the future. Chairman of the County Board, Sean Ramsbottom, also fully supported the development and reminded listeners of the great work of a former County Board Chairman, Fr. John Kearney, for club and county. It was he, said Mr. Ramsbottom, who acquired the O’Moore Park grounds for the club and transferred them to the county. “Portlaoise it could be said was coming home”, added Mr. Ramsbottom.
Under a banner heading “Portlaoise GAA to invest £50,000 in new facilities” the Leinster Express reported extensively on the press conference.
This is an excerpt:
‘In a comprehensive and wide ranging address at the launching, the Association’s President, Mr Con Murphy said he was highly honoured to be invited to attend such an auspicious occasion for the club. He was doubly pleased to be present he said at a moment in time when the club unit was recognised to be all important to the Association. One of the surest ways to make a club successful he stressed was for it to have its own ground and facilities. He lavishly congratulated the club officers on the amount of work they had put into the planning and forecast that the development when it is completed by the end of 1979 will be a credit to all concerned.’
Club Chairman, Teddy Fennelly, detailed the ambitious fundraising programme as the Leinster Express reported:
‘1. Direct Appeal for subscriptions to the firms, traders and general public in Portlaoise. 2. Monster Sponsored Walk on Easter Sunday to Mountmellick. 3. Dance in the Club Ossory, Borris in Ossory Easter Saturday night. 4. Monster Field Day on the June Holiday – details later. 5. Juvenile – Ciste Gael. 6. Juvenile – Silver Cirlce. 7. Supper Dances and Cabarets. 8. Festival of Dancing in Club Ossary in September. 9. 500 Club continues. 10. Armchair Horse Racing.’
The GAA President, Con Murphy, praised the role of women in the Association. He urged for the support of all interests in the town for the project. The Leinster Express reported: The role of women in the Association was highlighted by the President. They give invaluable service he said and he was delighted to see some present. They are now recognised for their valuable contribution to fund-raising, catering and Social Centres generally and were an important part of the GAA movement. Mr Murphy emphasised that Portlaoise needed this development.
“It is good for the town and the area. It deserves the support of the people of the area it has served for so long. I appeal also to the business community for your every backing. Portlaoise is a strong virile unit of the Association. I congratulate them once again and I must say that I like their project. I look forward to seeing it completed in the time specified. I wish the project every success and am glad to be here. In 1979 you will see your club one of the greatest in the country.”
One of the major fund-raising events for the year in connection with the big development was a tournament game featuring Laois and Kerry in June. Kerry won by 2-8 to 0-9.
Kerry: Paudie O’Mahoney, Jimmy Deenihan, John O’Keeffe, Charlie Nelligan, Ger Leahy, Tim Kennelly (Capt),Ger Power, Vincent O’Connor, Sean Kerry, Paud O’Mahoney, Tom Bridgeman, Pat Spillane, Brendan Lynch, Mick Ferris, Denis Coffey.
Sub: Paudie O’Shea.
Laois: Mick Mulhall, Kieran Brennan, Des Brennan, Pat Fingleton, Colm Browne, Pat Brophy, Eamon Whelan, Bobby Miller, John Costello, Liam Scully, Tom Prendergast, Tom Slevin, P.J. Garvan, Steve Allen, Des O’Loughlin.
Subs: Jimmy Hovendon, Paddy Doogue.