Profile: Alfie Lewis

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Alfie "The Metal Man" Lewis

Alfie Lewis was a larger than life figure within Portlaoise GAA. He came to prominence as a minor of exceptional talent and strength and was early promoted to senior hurling and football teams in the 1950s. He was soon starring with the county football team and his fame as a footballer and personality assumed almost legendary status as his career developed.

His display at centre half back on the famous Sean Purcell of the Galway All-Ireland champion side in a vital National Football League clash at Portarlington in the late 1950s, which Laois won, is the stuff of folklore such was his dominant display.

Alfie played a prominent part in bringing five senior football titles to the town in the 1960s, wins that raised the status of the Town considerably. A man of a mighty frame he was popularly known as “The Metal Man” because of his indestructible qualities and he had a personality to match which made him an icon during his playing years and a man fondly remembered all his life.

His other main sporting interest was boxing and his favourite hobby was photography and these pursuits kept him busy and engaged with people of like interest after his playing days.

His son, Jimmy, followed in his dad’s footsteps as an outstanding footballer for the Town, winning titles in all grades including senior in the 1980s and 1990s and also starring with county teams.

CBS junior hurling team 1952/’53. Back: Des Kennedy, Tom Preston, Paddy Ryan, Alfie Lewis, Seamus Masterson, John Slattery, John Cooke, Jim Hughes, Bobby Nolan. Front: Brian O’Reilly, Peter Keenan, Donnchadh Whelan, Eugene Byrne, Ollie Fennell, John Gorman, Pat Dalton, J. Griffin.
Juvenile U14 and U16 presentations in 1954. Back: Bro. Long, Sean Barrett, Tom (Tucker) O’Reilly, Al Delaney, Frank Lalor, Jas O’Reilly, Johnny McCormack, Bill Campion, Tom Brown, Michael Hughes, Frank McCluskey, Brian Stack, Louis Scully, Ned Harkin, Bro. Mulhern (Superior CBS). Front: Ned (Gilligan) Brown, Martin Whelan, Sean Ryan, Pascal Delaney, Tommy Dargan, Alfie Lewis, John Early, Atchell Rankin, Joe Lalor.
The team that won the SF final of 1958. It was lost afterwards to an objection by The Heath. Back: Jim Loughlin (Sec.), Billy Bunyan, Noel Delaney, Christy Fitzpatrick, Tom McCabe, Brian Stack, Tom Phelan, Tom Preston, Eamon Phelan, Ned Wynne, Richard (Sonny) Brown, Larry Carey, Hugh Campion, Mick Larkin, Tommy Keogh, Jimmy Conroy (Boxer), Al Delaney (Chairman). Front: Donald (Hackey) Dunne, Paddy Bracken, John Keenan, Alfie Lewis, Mick Donovan, Phil O’Keeffe, John Dunne, Vincent Moran.
Senior football champions 1966 (Replay team v. O’Dempseys). Back: Pascal Delaney, Mick McDonald, Teddy Fennelly, Tom Walsh, Paddy Bracken, Paddy Doyle, Sid Harkin, Noel McCabe. Alfie Lewis. Front: Frank Byrne, Mick Murphy, Tom O’Reilly, Jim Hughes (Capt.), John Fennell, Brian Delaney, Sid Lewis.
Senior football team that played O’Dempseys in the drawn final of 1966. Back: Pascal Delaney, Mick McDonald, Teddy Fennelly, Paddy Bracken, Syd Lewis, Mick Murphy, Alfie Lewis. Front: Tom Walsh, Brian Delaney, Tom O’Reilly, Paddy Doyle, Jim Hughes (Capt.), John Fennell, Syd Harkin, Oliver Phelan.
Senior football champions 1967. Back: Peadar Molloy, Teddy Fennelly, Tom Walsh, Noel McCabe, Mark Carroll, Paddy Bracken, John Whelan, Mick Murphy, Pascal Delaney, Frank Byrne, Jim Hughes. Front: Peadar (Violets) Byrne, Sid Harkin, Brian Delaney, Mick McDonald, Alfie Lewis (Capt.), Tom O’Reilly, Paddy Doyle, Sid Lewis, Tony Conroy, P.J. Holohan.
Senior football champions of 1968: Back: Ned Harkin (selector), Noel Lalor, Jimmy Cotter (Sec.), Paddy Brennan, Mick Murphy, Teddy Fennelly, Mick McDonald, Jim Hughes, Ollie Byrne, Paddy Doyle, Paddy Fitzpatrick, Joe Byrne, Jas.O’Reilly, Liam Carroll, Alfie Lewis, Pascal Delaney, John Whelan, Phil Shanahan (trainer). Front: Donal Hoare, Tony Maher, Tom O’Reilly, Harry Mulhaire, Mark Carroll, Paddy Bracken (Capt.), Tom Walsh, Frank Byrne, Sid Harkin, John Joe Ging, Brian Delaney.
Three in a row senior football captains after the 1968 final: Jim Hughes (1966), Paddy Bracken (1968) and Alfie Lewis (1967).
Back; Dick Sydes, Peader Molloy, Ollie Byrne, Jack Delaney, John Joe Ging, Tommy Keogh, John Keenan, Bill Murphy, Syd Harkin, Pascal Delaney, Martin Parkinson, Joe Byrne, Ned Harkin, Jim Hughes, Alfie Lewis. Front; Mick McDonald, Tom Deegan, Noel Tynan, Louis Harkin, Paddy Bracken, Teddy Fennelly(Capt.), Mark Carroll, Brian Delaney, Michael Carroll, Harry Mulhare, Bill Dunne and Jimmy Cotter.
SF champions 1970: Back: Tommy Keogh, Mick Murphy, Alfie Lewis, Tom Walsh, Paddy Bracken, Eamon Whelan, Mark Carroll, Syd Harkin, Pascal Delaney, Mick McDonald, Ned Harkin (selector). Front: Louis Harkin, John Joe Ging, Tom O’Reilly, Teddy Fennelly (Capt.), Brian Delaney, Kevin McGill, Harry Mulhaire.

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