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The last surviving member of the Laois hurling team that reached the 1949 All Ireland final has passed away

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The Laois senior hurling team that played Tipperary in the 1949 All Ireland final. Paddy McCormack, who passed away this week, is fifth from the left in the front row

The death has occurred of Rathdowney man Paddy McCormack, the last surviving member of the Laois hurling team that won the Leinster title and reached the All Ireland final in 1949. He was 95.

Paddy celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this year but passed away peacefully at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, earlier this week.

Paddy is deeply regretted by his wife Mary and his family, Eileen Fitzpatrick, Breda (Delia) Delaney, Jim, Phil, Pat, Angela Caulfield and Ann Moore, daughters in law, sons in law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters in law, brothers in law, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Paddy was corner-back on the Laois hurling team that won the county’s last Leinster hurling title in 1949. Laois beat Offaly and Dublin in the early rounds of the championship that year before seeing off Kilkenny in the Leinster final in Nowlan Park, for their first provincial title since 1915. They later went on to beat Galway in the semi-final but lost heavily in the final to Tipperary. He also played in the 1951 Leinster final which Laois lost to Wexford.

Paddy, who worked in Donaghmore Creameries, was one of three Rathdowney men on that starting team alongside Paddy Hogan and Harry Grey.

Among the other well-known names on that team were captain Paddy Ruschitzko, Billy Bohane and Paddy Lalor, who would later go on to represent Laois as a TD, minister and MEP.

With Rathdowney, Paddy played in senior hurling finals in 1941 and 1943, losing to Kilcotton and Portlaoise respectively. He later won a junior championship in 1954 before losing intermediate finals in 1956, 1957 and 1959 but on the winning Rathdowney team in 1960 when they got the better of Ratheniska.

Paddy also refereed for a while and was in charge of the 1959 senior final, interestingly on the same day that he lost the intermediate final, meaning it was a double header with a difference for him. That ’59 senior decider was Camross’s first title and his death comes just days after they claimed their 25th – a game in which his grandson John A Delaney was playing for Clough-Ballacolla.

In a playing career that spanned five decades, the last medals he won were in 1974, by which stage he was in his early 50s. That

Paddy is reposing at his home (Kilcoran) on Thursday evening from 4pm with rosary at 8pm. Funeral prayers on Friday evening at 6pm followed by removal at 6:30pm to The Church Of The Holy Trinity, Rathdowney. Funeral Mass on Saturday at 11am followed by burial in Bealady Cemetery, Rathdowney.

SEE ALSO – Pat Critchley: Remembering Paddy Sinnott – the Michael O Hehir of Laois