Laois hurling manager Eamonn Kelly.
A lot was said about a lot of things in Laois sport over the course of 2017. From Eamonn Kelly paying tribute to Cahir Healy, Peter Creedon hitting out at keyboard warriors and allegations of drinking Guinness and talking sh*te, here are your best sports quotes of 2017.
"If you don't have that togetherness or collective will to support and fight for one another, you will be found out in intercounty football. I thought today, our reponse to the eight point deficit, and our response with 30 seconds to go, to me, that was the most pleasing aspect"
- Peter Creedon sees positive signs after Laois draw with Meath in O'Byrne Cup
"Over the next two weeks we'll be having games among ourselves in training and I hope the lads have the same edge that they had here today, and that's where we'll learn an awful lot more."
- Eamonn Kelly after Laois lost to Galway in Walsh Cup.
"No one died, we'll just have to take it on the chin, and you'd need a big chin for that one."
- Peter Creedon takes to boxing metaphors after Laois are beaten by Louth in their league opener.
"If young lads don't get enough games, they'll go play something else like soccer or basketball or whatever, or they won't play at all."
- Pat O'Connell from Courtwood speaks in favour of the club's motion which attempted to allow players U-17 to play adult football.
"She plays internationally and Super League, but you're just as likely to find her in St Mary's Hall supporting an underage team or shooting hoops with us at half time"
- Ciara Byrne, aged 14, from Portlaoise Panthers speaking about Claire Melia.
"My opinion is that if a young lad wants to go and play soccer, you tell him you don't want him anymore. Lads might not agree with me, but we have to draw a line somewhere. There is a war coming, and if we don't draw down some battle lines we are going to lose players."
- Kieran 'Shaggy' Leavy channels his inner Churchill to prepare for an upcoming battle over juvenile players.
"Mr Leavy's comments were his personal held beliefs and he was not speaking on behalf of the Laois County Board."
- Laois GAA, however, didn't share his outlook.
"Okay, we are coming away with a defeat, but we were genuinely coasting. If we had got another score before half time, that game was over."
- Peter Creedon was in upbeat form after Laois lost out to Sligo, despite their continued slide down the table.
"He is a top player, if we had him for all the game against Antrim we probably would have won up there as well."
- Peter Creedon pays tribute to Donie Kingston, after the Arles-Killeen talisman shoots nine point to keep Laois from the relegation trap door, for one more game at least.
"I'm delighted for the lads. We need to ship a bit of criticism as a management team because we set it up wrong the last two days against Galway and Limerick"
- After a couple of tough defeats, Eamonn Kelly takes solace, and some blame, after a very impressive display against Wexford in their final league game.
"It's not what we are looking for, and there were many aspects of our play in the first half today which probably let us down again, but we have to circle the wagons and get ready for Longford in a few weeks time."
- Peter Creedon reflects on Laois' relegation to Division 4 of the NFL
"We've a lot of talking done in the last couple of weeks and it was time we put our words into action, and I think they did that to a certain extent."
- Eamonn Kelly was delighted to see his Laois team at their best after an epic encounter with Kerry in the promotion/relegation game.
"Paul shouldn't be playing here in reality. He spent two seasons at Wexford and four at Celtic. He brings us a level of experience that the lads haven't had. He has that leadership, but he's no the captain, he drives from within."
- Portlaoise AFC manager Ger Dunne pays tribute to Paul Cahillane after another impressive display from him.
"I'm starting to think that he's cloned himself judging from the number of games that he gets to every weekend."
- Portarlington RFC Chairman Jim Coman speaking about Clive Doody, who was awarded Volunteer of the Year by Leinster Rugby.
"That was as good a midfield display as I've seen in a long, long time, or ever."
- Eamonn Kelly sums it up fairly perfectly after Paddy Purcell scored 3-6, from play, against Meath.
"Kildare broke at pace and they kicked some good scores and I'm disappointed for the players. We felt we had an opportunity here today and Kildare managed to put us away quite easily in the end."
- Peter Creedon after Laois were dumped out of the Leinster SHC on a one-sided affair against Kildare.
"If you get hit, there's no point in giving out. I love the physicality of it, I'm not saying I'm going out to hit anyone, but you can't be afraid of getting hit. You just have to get on with it."
- Ciaran Cushen, a Stradbally man who is a member of the Leinster Wheelchair Hurling team, give his take on the sport.
"We brought back four or five lads that have played in the National League, so the next step was to go into the National League ourselves."
- Peter O'Sullivan, from Portlaoise Panthers, speaking about the club's decision to enter a mens team in National League Division 1, making it the first time in the club's history they field two teams at National level.
"If you had told me this morning that we'd win by a coule of points and move on, then you'd probably take it."
- Peter Creedon was happy enough to get out of Aughrim with a win over Wicklow.
"In today's world it is so important to be involved in the community, to interact, to let off steam, to be open-minded towards other people, and to welcome everyone into the club."
- Paddy Carroll, Portlaoise AFC volunteer, with perhaps the quote of the year.
"It wasn't a pretty place to be, our dressing room at half time, so I think the lads were just happy to get out."
- Eamonn Kelly recalling the 'both barrells' treatment dished out to his team after a poor first half display against Kerry in Tralee. It worked.
"We have trained savage since the end of the league, and not one of the players has shirked that responsibility."
- Peter Creedon pays tribute to his team after a much-needed win over Longford in the Leinster SFC.
"We wanted to give a bit of an identity back to the club, and for the young players to have senior players to look up to, that they would want to be like Colm Poole, James Mullaney, Jason Murphy, Paul Cahillane or Eoghan White."
- Portlaoise AFC manager Ger Dunne speaking after Portlaoise gained promotion to LSL Division 1A.
"We felt the few championship games we had would have stood us better."
- Eamonn Kelly rues a disappointing day at the office against Wexford in the Leinster SHC.
"Portlaoise will always be home for me, I try to get back a few times a year, and it will always have a special place in my heart."
- Local boxer TJ Doheny, who turned pro in Australia, in an interview with the Leinster Express in May.
"We have to rebuild. It's probably a bigger job than maybe people think. Intercounty football has gotten serisouly difficult and seriously hard, and I've never yet walked away from a challenge, and I certainly won't be starting now."
- Laois manager Peter Creedon, after the 14 point loss to Clare ended Laois' season.
"He has answered every question that was asked of him, the guy is incredible. The effort he puts in coming over and back from London, he's a warrior on and off the field and I just hope to God he stays with this team because he's the heartbeat of us at the minute."
- Eamonn Kelly pays tribue to Cahir Healy, after the Portlaoise man's performance against Dublin. He was harshly sent off in the end, but received applause from both sets of supporters as he left the field.
"My next memory was waking up the next morning on a trolley in Portlaoise Hospital. I was strapped down and wrapped in tin foil, with by dad, brothers and sister around me."
- Aengus Burke recalling when he was told he was paralysed from the neck down after a car accident in 1984. He eventually made a full recovery, and ran the Dublin marathon in 2017 to raise money for Spinal Injuries Ireland.
"You can't drink pints of Guinness and talkin sh*te in a pub, and then play football."
- Crettyard delegate John Burke hits out at the Laois senior football panel after rumours they were drinking before games.
"Unfortunately, we tried to bring new players in, but we found a lack of understanding from keyboard warriors, some members of the local media and some club delegates."
- Peter Creedon voices his disappointment with certain sectors of the Laois GAA public as he withdraws from the running to be Laois manager in 2018.
"It was a very good committee, they were very open to young people being involved and listening to their ideas, their enthusiasm and vision and they wanted to incorporate everyone. Even then the vision of the club was for us to play at the highest level possible."
- Richard McSweeney, looking back to his first involvedment at committee level with Portlaoise AFC, after being given a 'Services to Football' award from the FAI.
"You have to be half cracked to play this game, but the joy winning the game will bring to either Clough-Ballacolla or Camross, no money could buy it, and it would give both villages a massive lift."
- Clough-Ballacolla manager Tommy Buggy ponders the joys of victory before the Laois SHC final against Camross.
"No, we put no pressure on ourselves, this is the pressure we have every day. When you represent Camross, you go to play, and you play to win, and we're used to that, so we don't mind, there's no pressure. Pressure's only for a football, and maybe the odd balloon, or a car tyre!"
- Arien Delaney after Camross won the county final, responding to questions about whether there was more pressure on him to deliver a county title after returning for one more year as manager.
"It’s a fantastic feeling. God, they're hard won. To get over the line today, it’s a huge achievement for this group. We came here two years ago, and got hit near the end. We came here today with a steely determination to get over the line, and we drove it home. It was close near the end, but I think we just did enough on the day."
- Camross hurler Niall Holmes gives an idea of how much it meant for him and his team mates to get their hands on the Bob O'Keeffe Cup.
"We had a players meeting, it was two weeks after we were knocked out. We said we want this man back. We’re going to give it one more hell of a year here. We went up to him, asked him would he come back, and he came back, he gave it everything. We know what you get from Arien, complete professionalism."
- Camross joint captain Joe Phelan, speaking about the efforts to get Arien Delaney to return for a fifth year at the helm at the start of the season.
"There will be nothing rough and ready about the setup, I am sure of that. They are both deep thinkers on the game, intelligent and educated men. There won't be any bullsh*t and they are not loudmouths or anything like that either, they are good guys and I think they will do well with Laois."
- Sylvester Hennessy, a reporter with the Kerry's Eye newspaper, gives his recommendation on new Laois manager John Sugrue.
"It is super, bouncing back, it has been a long twelve months. I think the second it happened last year, I wanted to run for the hills and curl up and just disappear from everything, and about an hour later I wanted to get going straight away, and I wanted to rectify it as much as possible."
- Malachy McNulty, wasn't running for the hills in 2017, after Portlaoise were victorious in the county final.
"I was really overcome with emotions near the end of the match. That was an absolute hell of a match. Ballylinan were a credit to themselves, a credit to their community."
- Gareth Dillon pays tribute to Ballylinan after a heroic effort from the underdogs in the Laois SFC final.
"I'm a very proud Camross man today, and in fairness to the boys, I said it to them in there, I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them, and that goes from the committee to every young boy and girl from Camross that came out to support us here today."
- Arien Delaney pays tribute to his players and entire Camross community after their season came to an end with a loss to Mount Leinster Rangers in the Leinster Club SHC.
"It's gut-wrenching, I had a few words with the lads after the game, but as I explained to them, when you have a game like that, and a defeat like that, you're reaching deep for the words, but there's very little in there to be able to say."
- Malachy McNulty trying to make sense of a dramatic loss for Portlaoise against Moorefield in the Leinster Club SFC. Moorefield would go on to win the provincial title in yet more dramatic circumstances.
"A bloodless victory is no good to anyone. I wish Peter well and will support him as long as he is there, but it's not good for the clubs if there is no contest."
- Sean Mortimer, who had been in the running for Laois GAA Chairman, after himself and Brian Allen pulled out of the race in a matter of days.
“Devoid of any passion and pride in a Laois jersey.”
- Laois GAA secretary Niall Handy didn't mince his words when reflecting on the Laois footballers loss to Kildare in his annual report to Convention.
“Allow me to give you some stark facts, and these are facts; 12.5% of the population of Laois are non-Irish born. 27.% of the population of Portlaoise are non-Irish born. Forty two different nationalities are in the schools of Laois, and the other figure which is an advantage to us, is that 25% of the population of Laois are under the age of fourteen."
- Peter O'Neill highlights the growing diversity amongst the Laois population after being elected as the new Chairman of Laois GAA.
"I'm going to keep working at this job and maybe eventually I'll be where Peter is in a couple of years time. You have to lose a battle to win a war guys, but look it, I'm going to battle hard for Laois.”
- Kieran 'Shaggy' Leavy, who lost out to O'Neill in the race to be named chairman.
“I say thanks to my wife Marie, she was a rock. She never once said 'surely you're not going out again tonight, surely to god you're not going out again, surely to god there's not another funeral to go to. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her support.”
- Gerry Kavanagh, the outgoing Chairman, pays tribute to his wife as his five year tenure comes to an end.
"A non-drinker, and non-smoker, this man is an ideal leader to have in any club or sport. One can only hazard a guess as to the miles covered over the years travelling to every corner of Ireland, yet never looked for any reimbursement, and the passengers didn’t arrive home hungry either."
- Part of the tribute read out in honour of St Abban's official Pat Kelly, who received an Outstanding Official award from Athletics Ireland.
“It's not much to us, but it could mean a lot to someone else. It's little gestures that mean a lot.”
- Laois senior hurling captain Ross King speaking about their Sleep Out for Homelessness fundraiser, which raised over €1000.#
For our Sports Quiz of the Year, click HERE