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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Appearances in two consecutive All-Ireland hurling finals in 1914 and 1915, with a victory in the latter, were early milestones in the GAA story in Laois.  A mixture of skilled administrators and the establishment of schools’ leagues helped reverse faltering participation that had occurred within the local Association in the late nineteenth century. If hurling was the game in which the Laois reputation on the national sporting scene was forged, it would soon be eclipsed by football. The decline in hurling’s profile was not helped by the failure of the county to win a single Provincial title between 1950 and 2012. For their part, the Laois footballers made history in 1938 by becoming the first team from Leinster to tour the United States. This came during a high point for football in Laois, with the county winning three Leinster titles in a row between 1936 and 1938, and another in 1946. It was not until 2003, however, that the county added to their Provincial tally, doing so under the guidance of Mick O’Dwyer. A real success story in Laois has been the growth of ladies’ football. The establishment of a county board for ladies’ football in the 1970s marked a watershed for the women’s game. The sport flourished in the county and in 2001 Laois overcame Mayo to win their first All-Ireland ladies’ title.


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Laois face Tipperary in the 1949 Oireachtas Final.
©GAA Oral History Project


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An advertisement for a fundraiser in aid of Durrow GAA in 1983.
©GAA Oral History Project

Paddy Bates
Gerry Cullitin

Paddy Bates, b. 1942

Paddy talks about playing hurling during lunch time in school in Clonaslee and how sometimes they lost track of the time.
©GAA Oral History Project

Gerry Cullitin, b. 1936

Gerry discusses receiving a ban from the Laois county board after they discovered he played a rugby match for Tullamore.
©GAA Oral History Project

'The introduction of ladies' football and the expansion of Camogie has been the single most influential factor in the GAA. With these games, and particularly football, the active membership of the GAA increased spectacularly and a whole new surge of able and dynamic members began to participate in all levels of club activity.'
- Fintan Walsh, b. 1936
©GAA Oral History Project

'I remember the first county final with our club in it. Dressing up in the red and white and making flags and banners, every teddy was taken out of the press and every ball of wool was used. We all headed to behind the goal posts to shout our team on. They lost but I still never forget the village that evening when they came through on the back of a trailer and tractor.'
- Cathyrn Foyle, b. 1977
©GAA Oral History Project

'Back in our own club when we started we had two big jobs up in our area up in Camross, in timber... All our lads worked in the forestry and Bord na Móna... that kept all the clubs here. We were fortunate enough lads didn't have to emigrate or go away like that. Now the forestry's gone... the timber's gone and Bord na Móna is completely nearly gone as well and now emigration is hitting a lot of clubs and hit Camross in a big way... not in Camross alone but a lot of clubs are feeling the pinch... Hopefully if the building could take off again we might get back players.'
- Frank Keenan, b. 1951
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: Pat Critchley, b. 1960