Eamon ‘Atch’ Whelan was one of the greatest footballers who ever lined out for the club. He came on the senior team as a raw 17 year old in 1970 and showed extraordinary pace and ability in playing his part in winning the title. This was his first of nine titles won until 1986, the year he starred with Laois in their famous National Football League win, only the second in the county’s history. He played a prominent role in helping the Town win four Leinster club championships and starred with his great team mate, Mick Dooley, at midfield in the All-Ireland club triumph in 1983. He captained Laois to win its only All-Ireland junior title in 1973. He was a regular on Leinster teams and was selected for the Laois Millennium Team of the Century.
The Millennium Men
Paddy Bracken (Portlaoise), Dan Walsh (Army), Dick Miller (Annanough), John Conway (Arles), Colm Browne (Portlaoise), Paddy Dunne (Park), Mick Haughney (Graiguecullen), Tommy Murphy (Graiguecullen), Bill Delaney (Stradbally), Jack Kenna (O’Dempseys), Jack Delaney (Stradbally), Fintan Walsh (Ballylinan), Danny Douglas (Army), Eamon Whelan (Portlaoise), Tom Prendergast (Portlaoise).
Best Players you played with: Tom Prendergast, Colm Browne, Gerry Browne, Harry Mulhaire, Pascal Delaney, Jim Hughes, John Fennell.
Toughest Opponents: Brian Nerney (O’Dempseys); Pat Brophy (Emo); Willie Brennan (Graiguecullen); Pat Dunne (Ballyroan); John Conway (Arles); Gerry McEntee (Meath); John O Keeffe (Kerry).
Best Memories: National League win 1986 against Monaghan, All-Ireland Club win 1983 against Clanna Gael from Roscommon, First County Senior title 1970 against St Josephs.
Least memorable: Lost Minor football final to Stradbally 1972 who had some excellent players in Mick Buggy, Jim Wright etc, Losing All-Ireland Club semi-final to Burren (Down) in 1985
Earliest memories of club: Going to county finals when Portlaoise were playing, with my father, to the old O’Moore Park and climbing the old steps in the stand. The atmosphere was brilliant.
Early influences: Br Nolan, Br Beausang and Bill Phelan.
Characters: John Bohane and Bernie Conroy
Aspirations for club: To see more county players coming through from club. To win more county senior titles (both football and hurling). To win Leinster and All-Irelands. To develop an all-weather pitch in Rathleague.