The footballers victory over the Heath in the senior final replay was one of the greatest wins in the history of the club and when it was taken away on the decision of County Board chairman, Lar Brady, at a meeting in the Courthouse in Portlaoise, it left a bitter taste between the local rivals, Portlaoise and The Heath, for some years into the future. The manner of the victory and the manner in which the objection was dealt with resulted in a hostile reaction by the Portlaoise club.
Great win in replay.
The Leinster Express reported: “Portlaoise inscribed their name on the Laois senior football role of honour for the first time in forty years by defeating The Heath (holders) 3-7 to 1-4 in Sunday’s replay at O’Moore Park. Greater finals there may have been in the past but for thrilling passages, all-out endeavour, and a high degree of sportsmanship, this could compare favourably with any other final. Long after the talking points of the game are long forgotten, the names of team captain, Alfie Lewis, midfielder, Phil O’Keeffe, and forward, Noel Delaney, will be the toast of Portlaoise for the county town’s return to football fame.”
The winners led by 2-5 to 0-2 at half-time but by the three quarter stage the lead was down to a more manageable 2-6 to 1- 3 margin, after Ollie Fennell goaled for The Heath. But subs Tom Phelan and Richard “Sonny” Brown combined for Brown to crash home the clincher in the closing stages. Sean Brennan was the star performer for The Heath.
Paddy Bracken, Christy Fitzpatrick, John Keenan, John Dunne, Billy Bunyan, Alfie Lewis, Ned Wynne, Phil O’Keeffe, Tom McCabe (1-1), Tom Preston, Vincent Moran, Donal Dunne, Eamonn Phelan (1-1), Noel Delaney (0-1), Mick Donovan (0-1). Subs: Richard Brown, Tom Phelan.
Denis Conroy, Peter Booth, Billy Hennessy, Tom McVeigh, Jimmy Lalor, Jimmy Conroy, Tom Walsh, Sean Brennan, Peter Conroy, Dinny Rowe, Ollie Fennell, Peter Keenan, Bernie Conroy, Paddy Crossan, Jack Keyes
Sub: Jimmy Fennell