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|Páirc/Raithín an Uisce|
|Club colours:||Green and Gold|
|Senior Club Championships|
The club was founded in 1981 after the amalgamation of Park Football Club and Ratheniska Hurling Club. Club colours are green and gold. The club has competed at senior level in both hurling and football and has a vibrant Juvenile GAA Club, catering for both boys and girls in hurling and football from U6 up to U21.
- 1 Famous players
- 2 Early Signs of GAA in Area
- 3 Park Football Club
- 4 The 50's, Park's Glory Years
- 5 1970s
- 6 Ratheniska Hurling Club
- 7 The Park/Ratheniska GAA Club is formed
- 8 Recent years
- 9 2006, Provincial Champions
- 10 2007 and 2008, beaten finalists
- 11 2011, Provincial Champions Once More!
- 12 External links
- Paddy Dunne
- Sean Delaney
- Billy Bergin
- Ned Bergin
- James Leonard
- Larry Cushen
- Gar Kelly
- Joe Ramsbottom
- Ned Mansworth
- Tom Bowe
- Martin Wall
- Cathal Óg Greene
Early Signs of GAA in Area
Gaelic Athletic Association has always played a prominent role in Park/Ratheniska, dating back to a Ratheniska team in 1913, where the first signs of gaelic football in the area can be traced. This team faded away after contesting a few finals in that era, and it wasn’t until the Loughteague team in 1927 and 1928 that football began to flourish in the area when the newly formed club won two Laois Junior Football Championships under the captaincy of Liam Wall.
Park Football Club
However the first appearance of what was to become the Park/Ratheniska GAA Club came in 1933 when the Park Football Club was founded when a Minor and Junior team were affiliated with the Laois GAA County Board. Football quickly blossomed among the locals with a Minor title coming in its first year. The real breakthrough for the club was to come in 1942 though, when they broke out of Junior ranks for the first time. Four years of Intermediate football was rewarded in 1947 when the Laois Intermediate Football Championship title came their way, and at last Senior Football was achieved.
The 50's, Park's Glory Years
The Park men quickly became a force to be reckoned with in senior ranks, good championship runs followed as they attempted to scale the heights of senior football in Laois. This they did in style in 1952, which was to be the club's greatest era. Trained by the famous athlete Will “Bruno” McEvoy and under the captaincy of Paddy Dunne the Park team stormed all in front of them, culminating in a famous final victory against a fancied Ballyroan side. Not content to rest on their laurels, the Park men were only to keen to prove 1952 to be no fluke, and so they duly retained the title in 1953.
After such heights a plateau was inevitable. The club's next title of note was in 1972 when they captured the Laois Junior "B" Football Championship. Local rivalry was to the fore for the club's next success when in 1978 they captured the Senior Football League final defeating neighbours Stradbally in what was described as an “epic contest”.
Ratheniska Hurling Club
It was during this period of success for Park Football Club that another club was coming to prominence in the area. The Ratheniska Hurling Club had been founded in 1953, running alongside the Park Football Club, while primarily using many of the same players as the footballers. The club took its first ever-hurling title in 1958 when it clinched the Laois Junior Hurling Championship title. Success agreed with the Club early on, and a defeat in the Laois Intermediate Hurling Championship final of 1960 was followed up quickly with a win in the very same in 1961. The infant club had grown up quickly and in a mere eight years of existence was performing at the highest level in Laois.
However following ten years at senior level the move was taken to return to junior ranks where success came quickly again in the form of the 1971 Laois Junior Hurling Championship title. A Laois Intermediate Hurling Championship title followed in 1977 as the club again ascended through the ranks.
The Park/Ratheniska GAA Club is formed
In 1981 however both clubs underwent their greatest change when it was decided it would be best for all, to amalgamate the Park G.F.C and the Ratheniska Hurling Club under the one name, the Park/Ratheniska GAA Club. The new club had to wait six years for its name to be carved on a trophy, but this came along in 1987 when the Junior Hurlers did the League and Championship double. The footballers took their lead from this and stormed their way back to Senior ranks in 1988 when winning the Laois Intermediate Football Championship final on a wild and windy day in O'Moore Park.
1994 was to prove one of the most trophy laden years in the club’s history. The Laois All-County Football League Division 2 trophy was collected first, and was then followed up by the hurlers doing the league and championship double as they marched back to senior ranks again.
Another chapter in the club's history was written in 2003 when the junior hurlers picked up the Championship trophy in dramatic circumstances in O'Moore Park.
2006, Provincial Champions
In 2006 the club's Junior A footballers won the Laois Junior Football Championship, when Cathal Óg Greene hoisted aloft the trophy in O Moore Park after Barrowhouse had been defeated on a scoreline of 1-13 to 0-08. They defeated St Ultans of Meath by 2-8 to 1-8 in the Leinster Junior Club Football Championship Final, with a last minute goal from Johnny Nevin. Captain Cathal Óg Greene accepted the trophy from Leinster Council Chairman Liam O'Neill.
2007 and 2008, beaten finalists
2007 was the football Clubs first year back in the IFC ranks and saw the intermediate footballers just lose out on a semi final place on score difference. The Junior Hulers had more success though as they rampaged through the hurling championship. Epic tussles with Camross and Borris in Ossory set them up for a tilt at Clough/Ballacolla in the JHC final. However success was not to be, as the Club lost their 3rd JHC final in 4 years. There was also heartache in the league semi final to cope with.
In 2008 it was the footballers turn as they took off on a run that saw them reach the Laois IFC unbeaten. However a Michael Tierney inspired Ballyroan Abbey proved too strong in the decider, condemning the Park/Ratheniska men to Intermediate Football for another year.
The Junior footballer gained promotion from Division 5 of the league also in 2008, with silverware eluding them as they tasted defeat in the ACFL 5 final.
2011, Provincial Champions Once More!
2011 proved to be another landmark year in the history of Park/Ratheniska GAA Club. Our Junior Hurlers finally reached the summit in Laois with a County Final win over Borris in Ossory/Kilcotton in O Moore Park, Portlaoise. In a one sided game, the Park/Ratheniska men blew their opponents away with a 2-14 to 0-3 with Brendan Fingleton putting in a man of the match winning performance from midfield, while at the same time assuring himself of 2011 Laois Junior Hurler of the Year.
Not content with this achievement, they then went on a run through Leinster with wins over the Louth and Kildare representatives, before culminating in yet another never to be forgotten Provincial Final on a winter afternoon in Ratheniska GAA Grounds. This time it was Parnells of Dublin who stood in the way of Leinster glory and goals from Darragh Nolan and Barry Fingleton secured a 2-10 to 1-08 win, giving Park/Ratheniska the honour of becoming the first Laois Club to hold Provincial Titles in both Hurling and Football with Captain David Larkin receiving the trophy from Leinster Council Chairman, Martin Skelly of Longford.
- Park/Ratheniska GAA Club Website
- Laoistalk - Laois GAA News Website
- Article pre Leinster Final
- Leinster Express Article about 2006 Leinster Football Final win
- Laois Nationalist Article about 2006 Leinster Football Final win
- Laois Nationalist Article about 2011 Leinster Hurling Final win