Profile: James (Jas.) O’Reilly

James "Jas" O'Reilly pictured with the AIB Leinster Club of the Year trophy of 1982.

Jas is one of the most colourful characters in the club having a very distinguished career as a player, official and mentor. He won juvenile and minor titles in both codes and went on to star on senior teams from 1959 until ’64. He played corner forward in the county hurling final of 1960 in which Portlaoise lost by one point to Borris-in-Ossory and scored the only goal in the famous win of the senior football team of 1964, the club’s first title in the grade for 57 years.


He was has twice been chair of the club. First in the 80s when the club won numerous titles and was the top club in Leinster and again in the late 2010s. He had been vice-chairman since 1997, during the tenures of Peadar Molloy, Niall Kavanagh, Vinnie Dowling and John Hanniffy.


He has been a fundraiser supreme for the club over the decades and has been in charge of the successful annual golf classic fund-raiser with Phil O’Keeffe for many years. 

The 25th anniversary (2012) of the win of the junior hurlers of 1987 with team captain, Paddy Harding, holding the cup. Back: Ambrose Larkin, Matthew Keegan, Billy Fitzpatrick, Ollie Dunne, Christy Dunne, Jimmy Wrest, Hugh Rochford. Front: Marie McEyoy, Betty O’Neill, Jas O’Reilly, Paddy Harding, Dick Sides, Tommy Fitzpatrick, Mary Bergin
At the reunion of 1949/’50/’51 Portlaoise and Kilminchy minor hurling and football teams in 2000. From left: Jas. O’Reilly, Roc Scully, Jim Sexton, Vincent Dowling, Paddy Connell, Niall Kavanagh, Jim Loughlin and Billy Donovan.
The top table at the EGM February 2009. Teddy Fennelly, Jas O’Reilly, John Hanniffy, Vincent Dowling, Peter O’Neill and Jim Gaynor.
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.
Portlaoise senior hurling team pictured prior to the county final in which they just failed to Borris-in-Ossory by one point in 1960. Back: Jimmy Cotter (Hon. Sec.), Martin Rafter, Jimmy Lalor, Tommy Keogh (in background), Mick Flanagan, Pascal Delaney, Johnny McCormack, Tom Lalor, Ned Murphy, Pascal O’Brien, John Keenan (selector), Christy Fitzpatrick, Noel Delaney, Tom Preston, Bill Murphy, Jas O’Reilly, Jimmy Conroy (selector, with hurleys). Front: Joe Lalor, Tom Brown, Har Walsh, Mick Larkin, Mick Dalton, Tom Bracken, Paddy Brennan, Pat Dalton, Donald Dunne.
Some well-known faces from the 1960s: Back: Ollie Byrne, Jimmy Martley, Mick McDonald, Ger Rochford, Mick Leavy. Front: Jas O’Reilly, Ollie McDonald, Tony Flanagan.
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.
Under 21 football champions 1980. This was the team that completed the record seven-in-a-row titles in the grade. Back: Jas. O’Reilly (mentor), Bill Phelan (mentor), John Taylor, Mathew Keegan, Brian Colgan, John Bohane, Eamon Conroy, Maurice Prendergast , Jimmy Lewis, Paddy Dunne, Tim Keightley, Pat Bennett, Mick Rigney, Dominic Connell, Pat Critchley, Mick McDonald (mentor), Teddy Fennelly (mentor), Pascal Delaney (mentor). Front: Con Dunne, Noel Prendergast, Ger O’Brien, Pat Roe, Seamus Smith (Capt.), Mark Kavanagh, George Phelan, Mick Bohane, Brendan Fitzsimons, Connie Conroy.
Portlaoise were selected as AIB Leinster Club of the Year in 1982.Pictured at the presentations were Teddy Fennelly, club chairman 1981, Paudge Dowling, Club Development chairman, Jas. O’Reilly, chairman 1982, John Wallace, Manager AIB, Portlaoise, and club treasurer, Dick Sides.
Portlaoise GAA Club Members admiring their AIB-GAA award, (l. to r.) Brian Delaney, Paudge Dowling, Michael Durard AIB, Bill Phelan, John Wallace AIB, Teddy Fennelly and seated chairman James O’Reilly.
At the presentation of two cups by the Laoismens Association in London to the Portlaoise GAA in 1982 were: Back: Dinny Bowe, John Keenan, Bro. Guing, Paudge Dowling, Tommy Keogh, Jimmy Cotter, Peter Carroll, Dick Sides, Sean Dowling. Front: Jas. O’Reilly, Mrs. Dunne, Peter Dunne (Sec. of Laoismans Association in London), Bill Phelan
Mentors at the All-Ireland club final in Cloughjordan in 1983: Mick McDonald, Jas. O’Reilly, Teddy Fennelly, Bill Phelan and club sponsor and supporter, Noel Moore
All-Ireland club champions 1982/’83. Back: Mick McDonald (selector), Eamon Conroy, Sean Dunne, Eamon Whelan, Mick Lillis, Ger Rowney, Mick Mulhall, Mick Dooley, Jimmy Bergin, Mark Kavanagh, Joe Keenan, Sean Bergin, John Bohane, Bernie Conroy, Teddy Fennelly (selector); Front: Bill Phelan (selector), Noel Scully, Billy Bohane, Gerry Browne, Tom Prendergast, Liam Scully (Capt.), Noel Prendergast, Brian Rankin, Pat Critchley, Colm Browne, Jas. O’Reilly (selector), Tony Maher (selector).

More Club History To Explore

Profile: John Taylor

By common consent John Taylor was one of the finest hurlers in the history of Portlaoise or Laois GAA. No question. He made the number 7 jersey his own and wore it with great distinction for the town for two decades, winning eight senior championships in the process

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