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County Final Memory: Barrowhouse end years of hurt by claiming intermediate football glory in 1980

The Barrowhouse team that won the Laois intermediate football title in 1980: Back row, left to right - Paddy Howe, Dom Whelan, Gerry Daly, Liam Langton, John Langton, Joe Brennan, Charlie Prendergast. Front Row, left to right - Mike Brennan, Christy Langton, Martin Howe, Ignatius Brennan, Joe Prendergast, Dom Brennan, Eugene Brennan, Jack Kenny.

Barrowhouse 2-10 St Manman’s 1-6
1980 Laois IFC Final

There are few clubs that had to endure as much final heartbreak before finally winning their first Laois intermediate football title as much as Barrowhouse.

The club lost eight finals before their breakthrough success in 1980. In 1949, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1975, 1977 and 1979 they came up short, though that run of defeats was softened somewhat by a junior success in 1974.

“No other team can have witnessed eight defeats in the final as Barrowhouse have,” went the Leinster Express preview the week before the game.

“If any team deserves to win an intermediate title it surely must be Barrowhouse,” they added before going on to say that “on their day Barrowhouse can play some brilliant football and if they hit the right notes on Sunday, they could well be on their way to capturing their first ever intermediate title.”

In their way, however, were St Manman’s from Clonaslee who were appearing in their first final in the grade having only come up from junior two years earlier.

Barrowhouse, who were managed by St Joseph’s and Laois player Tommy Garvan, had beaten Crettyard and Park to get to the final while St Manman’s had been too strong for “a highly fancied Rock side” in the opening round and then O’Dempsey’s in the semi-final.

A somewhat lucky Dom Brennan goal after just two minutes set Barrowhouse on their way and they were 1-6 to 0-4 up at half time.

According to the Leinster Express report, “the game hung in the balance until the 52nd minute when Dom Whelan shot the second goal to bring his personal tally to 1-5”.

Declan Doyle did get a late penalty for the Clonaslee men but it wasn’t enough. Barrowhouse’s wait was over.

“County vice-chairman Bill Phelan presented the trophy to winning captain Paddy Howe amidst great jubilation,” reported the Leinster Express. 

“And what a worthy leader he was for together with his partner, the indefatigable Christy Prendergast, they helped in attack or defence as occasion warranted and provided the launching pad for this historic win.”

Incidentally, 11 of the Barrowhouse team were from four families with four Whelan brothers, three Langtons, two Howes and two Prendergasts.

“But perhaps the outstanding player in this Barrowhouse success was centre-back Gerry Daly who had a great game throughout – so too Dom Whelan the top scorer.”

Barrowhouse would spend a couple of years at senior before coming back down and winning the intermediate title again in 1985 – and again in 1992.

St Manman’s would come back to win the final in 1981 and have since won the grade on a record six occasions, including this year.

SCORERS – Barrowhouse: Dom Whelan 1-5, Dom Brennan 1-2, Paddy Howe 0-2, John Langton 0-1. St Manman’s: Declan Doyle 1-4, Ciaran O’Keeffe 0-1, Seamus McCroghan 0-1

BARROWHOUSE: Liam Langton; Jack Kelly, Chris Langton, Iggy Brennan; Eugene Brennan, Ger Daly, Joe Prendergast; Charlie Prendergast, Paddy Howe; Michael Brennan, Joe Brennan, Dom Whelan; Martin Howe, John Langton, Dan Brennan.

ST MANMAN’S: Ger Dunne; Eddie Burke, Tom Russell, Michael McCroghan; Gerry Costello, Kevin Culleton, Niall Malone; Seamus McCroghan, Ciaran O’Keeffe; Martin Corcoran, Jimmy Dunne, Sean McCann; Tommy Tynan, Noel Foynes, Declan Doyle. Subs: Pat Hassett for McCann, Christy McRedmond for Burke

REFEREE: Tom ‘Doc’ Hughes (Crettyard)

SEE ALSO – Check out more from our County Final Memory series here