Formed in 1887 Portlaoise GAA Club has a long, rich and varied history. Many great people have been woven into this history and below are some of their stories.
Over time the club will be adding more of these important historical items to the site.
Sources for these stories come from club members past and present as well as from the invaluable books about the club including Peter O’Neill’s book Portlaoise G.A.A. ‘One moment in time’ – A Pictorial Collection of “The Town” 1887 – 2013 and Teddy Fennelly and Brian Delaney’s Portlaoise G.A.A. 1887-2016 C’Mon The Town, and Pat Critchley’s 2008 book “Hungry Hill” and our own monthly newsletter “Town Tattler“
Profile: Colm “Wooly” Parkinson
Our very own media maestro Colm “Wooly” Parkinson.
Profile: Jimmy Harding
Jimmy Harding was one of the clubs leading dual players.
He won football championships in 1976, 79, 81 and 82 and figured in the Leinster title win of 1977 and was part of the panel for the All-Ireland club win of 1983.
Profile: Jimmy Bergin
Jimmy Bergin was a star of the 1970s and ‘80s and won numerous senior football titles with the “Town”.
Profile: Paudge Dowling
Paudge Dowling made a unique contribution to the club during his long tenure in the 1970s and ‘80s as chairman of the development committee.
Profile: Fr Matt Walsh
Portlaoise GAA is fortunate to have in its ranks many inspirational figures over its long history. None more so that Fr. Matt Walsh, Life President of the club for thirty years until his unexpected death at his home at Lower Beladd on 30 October 1995.
Profile: Mathew Keegan
Mathew came through the ranks as a duel player winning underage football and hurling titles for the “Town”.
Profile: Pascal Delaney
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”.
Profile: Roc Scully
Rocky Scully was a prominent player and official over the years.
He was a fine hurler who won underage county titles with Portlaoise and represented Laois at minor level
Profile: Joe Phelan
Joe Phelan was one of the finest hurling players of his generation. He was a fine dual player for the club but hurling was the sport in which he shone.
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
Profile: Niall Rigney
Hailing from an immensely talented sporting family Niall has represented Ireland, Leinster, Laois and Portlaoise.
Profile: Laura Bergin
Laura Bergin has the honour of being the clubs first lady officer.
Profile: Aisling Saunders
Aisling Saunders has come up through the underage ranks of Portlaoise Ladies Gaelic Football to become the co captain of the first Portlaoise team to win the Laois Senior Ladies Football Championship in 2020.
Profile: Alfie 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.
Profile: James (Jas.) O’Reilly
Jas is one of the most colourful characters in the club having a very distinguished career as a player, official and mentor.
Profile: Mick Mulhall
Mick Mulhall was one of the greatest goalkeepers ever produced by Laois, with whom he played for over a decade.
Profile: Brian Stack
Brian Stack was an active member and great supporter of Portlaoise GAA club all his life. He played football and hurling up to and including senior level and was a well-known inter-county referee.
Profile: Tommy Conroy
Tommy Conroy has been a stalwart of Portlaoise GAA throughout his life. He played senior football for the town for 17 years, winning six county championships as well as a Leinster title in 1987. He made his name when he broke onto the great town team of the 80’s with Colm and Gerry Browne, Curly and co still setting the standard. He soldiered through the barren years of the ‘90s and then a golden generation of new stars arrived like Ian Fitzgerald, Martin Delaney, Woolly, Fitzy etc and gave an an ageing sportsman a new lease of life. Here are some of his personal memories of the club.
Profile: Cyril Duggan
Cyril Duggan is without doubt one of the finest dual players the club has ever produced. Speak to anyone who was lucky to see him play or play with him and they will tell you the same.
Profile: Walsh Brothers of Borris Road
Har Walsh and his brother Tom both won under age titles in hurling and football with the town.
Profile: Jimmy Doyle
Jimmy Doyle was one of the giants of hurling. Born and reared within the shadow of hurling’s great amphitheatre, Semple Stadium, he went on to become one of the greatest hurlers of all time.
Profile: Eamonn ‘Atch’ Whelan
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.
Profile: Jim Gaynor
Jim Gaynor has been a great worker for the club over many years. He was a mentor with numerous successful under-age teams.
Profile: Paddy Bracken
Paddy Bracken was one of those Portlaoise footballers who
blazed the trail for the club in the 1950s when championship
wins were scarce and in the 1960s when winning became more
Profile: Paddy ‘Boughlone Hare’ Brennan
Paddy Brennan is a legendary figure in the Portlaoise club.
He won minor hurling championships with the Rovers Club
and when that club merged with Portlaoise in the early 1950s,
Paddy threw in his lot with the Town. He went on to star with
his club and also in the blue and white of Laois for many
Profile: Peter Fennell
I feel lucky to have witnessed “The Town” during the ‘60s, reborn in the ‘70s, through to an All-Ireland club title in football in 1983 right up to recent years and last year winning the ninth title in a row.
Profile: Ciamh Dollard
Laois and Portlaoise star Ciamh Dollard describes her supporting and playing memories with Portlaoise.
Profile: Liam ‘Stapo’ Brown
Liam ‘Stapo’ Brown – well known town man.
Profile: Tom Prendergast
Tom Prendergast was inducted into the Laois GAA Hall of Fame for 2021. Tom – affectionately known to us all as ‘Curly’ – is without doubt one of the finest players Portlaoise and Laois has ever seen.
Profile: Cahir Healy
Cahir Healy is one of the finest dual players the club and county has ever produced. Known for his skill, dedication and strength Cahir was a phenomenal servant to the Town even commuting back from London weekly to line out for the club.
Here he answers a few questions in the 2016 book “C’mon The Town Portlaoise G.A.A. 1887 -2016”
Profile: Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett
Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett needs no introduction to Gaels in Portlaoise, Laois and throughout the hurling world. He was a tough, uncompromising player for Portlaoise and Laois in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and won multiple championships.
Profile: Paddy Hasper Farrell
Paddy was a member of the Laois minor hurling team of 1934 that won Leinster honours and was pipped by a point by Tipperary in a farcical finish to the All-Ireland final which was kept going for over ten minutes of extra time until the Munster men got the winning score.
Profile: Paddy Critchley
Paddy Critchley figured on Irish Worsted Mills teams and won championship
medals with Kilminchy at minor level in the 1940s and Park seniors in the early
Profile: Billy Bohane Snr
Billy Bohane was one of the greatest hurlers ever produced by Laois and was midfield on the Laois Millennium team.
Profile: Pat Critchley
Pat or Zoom as he is affectionately known is an icon in Portlaoise and Laois Hurling. He holds 14 Senior Championship medals and probably unknown to many seven of those are for Senior Football…
Profile: Colm Browne
Colm Browne has achieved almost everything a Gaelic player could wish for. At Club level Colm has won ten Laois Senior Championships, four under 21s and two Minor Medals…
Profile: Tom Bergin
On the 13th August 1999 the club lost another valued member with the death of Tom Bergin.
Tom who played most of his hurling with Clonad joined Portlaoise when he moved to live in the town.
Profile: Paddy Campion
Paddy Campion became the club’s first Honorary President in 1943, the year Portlaoise won its second senior hurling title.
Profile: Johnny Lynch
Johnny Lynch, of O’Moore Place, who rode to Mountmellick on a donkey to follow the Portlaoise hurlers in an epic game against great rivals, Clonad, played in Mountmellick.
Profile: Dr. Thomas F. O’Higgins
Dr. Thomas F. O’Higgins, who chaired the first meeting of Portlaoise GAA, in 1887. He was a popular G.P. in Stradbally for many years.
Profile: R.P. Fennell
Portlaoise has been blessed with having some really good administrators over the years.
In the early years there was R.P. Fennell, a man whose family and connections were
deeply rooted in the town and in the nationalist tradition.