Getting the bus outside the Portlaoise Swimming Pool for 1976 Leinster Club Final V Cooley Kickhams. Bill Phelan – about 10 or 12 of us in his car going to play juvenile matches, the boot full of balls and hurls. His favourite, James ‘Skinny’ Fahy was always in the front – we were squashed in the back like sardines Training down the Mountmellick Road somewhere John Cole Street Leagues of which Dublin Road won a couple backed up by the Browns, Duggans, Dwyers, Ruschitzkos, relations of the famous Paddy.
Of the 1976 team Mick Dooley, Colm Browne, Atch Whelan, Liam Scully, Curly. On the hurling side remembering Peadar Molloy, Noel Tynan, the Bohans, John Joe Ging, The Goggie. I was only a chap when the great Camross team beat us in a county final in the 70s – our first senior final in years I think.
Every person that has trained juvenile teams in hurling and football down through the years. Parents who drove to games. All the great ladies (Mna na Club). I remember the early ones Nancy Reilly, Maureen O’Keeffe, and numerous others up to present we have Catherine Fitzgerald, Imelda Fitzpatrick, Liz Plunkett etc – great women. At the present time Liam Breen and all the great crew out in Rathleague keeping the grounds right.
Goggie Delaney, Jimmy Keenan, Mickey Bohan – great lads to have in any club. Noel Hopper, Shem Larkin, Bill Murphy, Pascal Delaney, – auld stock characters they were. Also remember Tommie Keogh and Jim Loughlin – never missing a training session- and Tommie doing the door for the Sunday night dancing with the biscuit tin.
Good and bad. Won Junior A, B & C county finals. Leinster and All-Ireland Inter Firms with Bord na Mona – great team that was with Joe Keenan, John Taylor, Hugo Griffin, myself, Mick Ahearne, Liam Irwin, Claffey brothers from Offaly. Man of the match in Leinster Final. Losing a minor in 1982 and U21 final to Portarlington in 1985 of which I was captain – Port scored a goal in the last minute to win it. We had a very strong team backboned by Tommy Conroy, Skinny Fahy, Dessie Brown, Liam Duggan – all senior footballers at the time.
Best Players throughout the years
Have to say my father Tom (Chala) Brown – was told he was a great hurler and my uncle Sonny Brown – heard he was a good footballer!! Even though my memories of their playing days are vague I often got a slap of the fathers hurl ok!! Best hurlers – Bergins, Critchleys, Bohans, Rigneys, Matthew Keegan, Keenans – great hurlers but dead sound lads as well but the greatest of them all has to be John Taylor – some player for us and Laois. Footballers: Brownes, Atch, Scullys, Mick Dooley, Jimmy Bergin, Lillis, but Curly has to be the number 1. Present day footballers: Mickey Nolan, Bruno, Healy, Rogers – they would have made that All-Ireland team. Present day hurlers: Healy, Tommy Fitzgerald, Joe Phelan, Eoin Browne – they would have made the great four in a row hurling team.
Early 1980’s playing Buffers Alley in Wexford – we won by a point. Leinster Club Championship. Coming off the field Ollie Plunkett and Tom “Kettle” Flynn slagging off Tony Doran the great Wexford full-forward. Doran jumps over the fence and gives Ollie a black eye and about ten lads trying to hold back Cheddar from getting at Doran. Brilliant!! Super memories following that 4 in a row team – Mickey Bohan’s messing, Jimmy Keenan’s songs, Goggy Delaney’s jokes.
Aspirations for the club in 20 years time
That we are still competing at every level for county titles in both codes. Other clubs can do it? Cratloe, Kilmacud Crokes. Very important that we get on a sound financial footing and have a clear plan where we are going both on and off the field.