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Death occurs of Christy O’Brien, one of Laois’s greatest hurlers of all time

Hall of Fame recipient Christy O'Brien with family and friendsat the 2016 Laois GAA Awards

The death has occurred of Christy O’Brien from Borris-in-Ossory, regarded as one of the greatest Laois hurlers of all time.  He was just short of his 89th birthday.

Highly regarded all over the country during his Laois senior career that lasted from 1952 to 1969, he was once named on the team of the greatest hurlers never to win an All Ireland. 

He won five Laois senior hurling championships with Borris-in-Ossory – whom he captained to their first ever senior success in 1956.

He was also captain of their championship-winning teams in 1957, 1960 and 1961 and won his fifth and final medal in 1972 at the age of 39.

Selected on the Laois Team of the Milennium in 2000, he won Railway Cups with Leinster in 1956, 1962, 1964 and 1965. In all he played for Leinster in 10 of the 11 years from 1956 to 1966.

With Laois, success came in the guise of National League Division 2 titles in 1960 and 1965.

“Let it be in Laois or elsewhere, Christy O’Brien’s name is regularly mentioned when hurling is discussed,” wrote John Phelan in the Laois GAA Records Bible published in 2017.

“His skill with a camán is well recorded in song and story of his deeds on the hurling field with club, county, Leinster and Ireland.

“In his early days in the 1950s and 1960s he played most of his games at centre-back and was recognised as one of the greats of this position.

“But as needs came about to getting scores he was to be found making his way up the field and became a great forward. He was to become one of the great all round players that could play anywhere.”

In 2016, Christy was inducted into the Laois GAA Hall of Fame and in 2019 he was added to the Leinster GAA Hall of Fame.

Christy lived at Derrin, Borris-in-Ossory, and is survived by his wife Nan, sons Pat and Liam, daughters Cait and Isobel, sister Mary, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends.

He is pre-deceased by his brothers Jimmy, Brother Basel (Dicky) and Paddy.

Reposing at Guilfoyle’s Funeral Home, Castletown, this Tuesday evening from 4pm (family will be present) with prayers at 5.45pm. Removal to St Canice’s Church Borris-in-Ossory arriving at 7.30pm.

Funeral mass this Wednesday morning, March 9, at 11am followed by burial in Derrinsallagh Cemetery, Borris-in-Ossory.

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories