There is widespread sadness in Portlaoise at the death of Phil O’Keeffe, a retired Detective in an Garda Siochana and a man heavily involved with Portlaoise GAA over a long number of years.
“It is with great regret that Portlaoise GAA Club learnt this morning of the untimely passing of a great clubman and a gentleman, Phil O’Keeffe,” posted club chairman John Hanniffy on their Facebook page.
“‘Philo’ has given exceptional service to Portlaoise GAA Club on and off the field for many years. He won a senior medal with the club in 1964 and played with Laois for a number of years. He played a vital role in our club social and fundraising activites over a number of years, managing the Club Lotto and organising our annual golf classic since its inception in the 1990s.
“Our deepest sympathies to his wife, Maureen, his daughters, Antoinette and Claire, his granddaughter, Sarah and his sons-in-law, Tom and Brian, and his extended family on their sad loss. Ar dheis Dé go raimh a anam dílis.”
Originally from West Cork he moved to Laois in the late 1950s where he was originally stationed in Borris-in-Ossory. A very talented footballer he transferred to Portlaoise and helped them win a senior football title in 1964, the club’s first since 1907 alongside a number of well-known players in the club, the likes of Paddy Bracken, Teddy Fennelly, Jazz O’Reilly, Jim Hughes and Alfie Lewis. He also played at wing-back for Laois in the 1959 Leinster final.
As mentioned by the club in their statement he was heavily involved with the Portlaoise GAA Development Committee and along with Jazz O’Reilly was the driving force behind their annual Golf Classic in The Heath. Indeed this year was the first year since the Golf Classic started that he was unable to attend due to his sickness.
A regular member of ‘Dad’s Army’ in the Heath Golf Club, he was also a regular fundraiser for Laois Hospice.
As a member of an Garda Siochana he also enjoyed a distinguished career and was a prominent member of the force during the 1970s when the Troubles were rampant in Northern Ireland and a number of the prisoners were in Portlaoise.
Phil is survived by his wife Maureen, daughters Antoinette and Claire, grand-daughter Sarah, sons-in-law Tom Prendergast and Brian Rigney, brother Barry, sister-in-law Pauline, nephews, nieces, extended family, large circle of friends and former colleagues in an An Garda Siochana. He is pre-deceased by his grand-daughter Kate.
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