Profile: Pascal Delaney

Portlaoise players, John Fennell, on the ball, backed up capably by Pascal Delaney, in the Leinster club football final against Athlone in 1972 at Carlow.
If there was any one player who symbolised the never-say-die spirit that inspired Portlaoise to become one of the country’s top GAA Clubs in the 1960s and early ‘70s is has to be Pascal Delaney, know to friend and foe alike as “The Red Lad”. He was a man of powerful strength, unfathomable talent and fearless disposition who inspired all those around him to greater effort and giving all to the cause. Equally talented with the big ball or the sliothar, Pascal, became a legend in his own lifetime throughout the county and much further afield as a fearless warrior and was respected by one and all for his high standard of sportsmanship which matched his wonderful talents as a player.
Winning numerous under age and minor championships with the Town, he was playing at senior level in both codes as a teenager. Indeed he was but seventeen years old when he played with the Town in the senior hurling final of 1960 which his team unluckily lost by the narrowest of margins.
He was one of the main driving forces in the upsurge of the club’s football fortunes in the 1960s. But by an unfortunate twist of fate he missed the county final of 1964 when the Town won its first senior title in the modern era. He had been red-carded, quite harshly, in the first-ever All-Ireland Under 21 final at Croke Park on the previous Sunday against Kerry. In the circumstances the Portlaoise players were reluctant to line out on the following Sunday without their talisman, but he insisted that they should play, and although not there himself in person, he was generally recognised as the inspiration behind the historic victory which launched countless famous victories in the following years and decades.
Pascal played in five further winning finals and was a key player in the club securing its first Leinster title against Athlone in 1972. That team went on to play Derry champions, Bellaghy, in Magherafelt at the peak of the Northern troubles and Pascal, like his team-mates was bitterly disappointed when the game swung against them into injury time. A coveted All-Ireland club title had eluded him.
He gave sterling service to the county in both codes but sometimes his talents and ability as a playmaker were never fully recognised or utilised by county mentors. Quick-thinking and spontaneous, he would thread deliveries to score-taking teammates with precision that often left opposing defences in threads. Though more prominent as a footballer he had all the skills of a first-class hurler and he was never lacking in his efforts with the club hurling side that failed to win the title in his time but were rarely far short of the best during those years. He loved all sports and had a particular love for greyhounds. He enjoyed considerable success with dogs he bred and trained and was well-known in the world of greyhound racing.
-humoured and modest to a fault, Pascal, was deeply loved and admired by all and deservedly his memory was perpetuated when the club centre at Fr. Browne Avenue was named in his honour after his untimely passing in 1986.
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.
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.
Laois team that played Kerry in the first Under 21 All-Ireland final in 1964. Back: Liam Purcell, Brian Delaney, Mick Fennell, Paddy Brennan, Eamon Mulhall, Tom Miller, Syd Harkin, John Conway, Pascal Delaney, Pat Salter, Dick Miller. Front: J. J. Farrell, Jim Leonard (Capt.), Gabriel Lawlor, Teddy Fennelly, Noel Peacock, Tony Maher, John Fennell, Christy O’Connor, Danny Brennan.
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 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 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.
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.
SF champions 1971: Back: John Grant, Jim Hughes, Mick Mulhall, Barry Larkin, Mark Carroll, Paddy Doyle, Tom Walsh, Ollie Byrne, Cyril O’Meara, Alan Larkin, Eamon Whelan, Mick McDonald, Pascal Delaney, Phil Shanahan (Manager). Front: Noel Tynan, Kevin Farrell, Teddy Fennelly, Harry Mulhaire, Brian Delaney, Mick Murphy (Capt.), Louis Harkin, Larry Dunne, Mick Dooley, Jimmy Harding, Tom O’Reilly.
Back: Jim Hughes, John Grant, Mick Mulhall, Tom Walsh, Micheal Carroll, Pascal Delaney, Mick McDonald. Front: Teddy Fennelly, Harry Mulhaire, John Fennell, Mick Murphy (Capt.), Cyril O’Meara, Brian Delaney, Larry Dunne, Mick Dooley.
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.

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