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History of the Club

The Heath GAA Club was formed in the Autumn of 1888, the exact date is not known but it was founded in the Heath School and the first officers of the club were President James O’Brien, Vice-President John Tynan, Treasurer John Daly, Secretary Patrick Bates and Captain Denis Booth.The early Committee meeting were held in the Treasurer’s house in Shaen. The early members also decided to use the prefix St. Patrick’s in the title of the club. When surveying the clubs in the county in 1890 the R.I.C. referred to The Heath as St. Patrick’s.

The founding members of the Club also took part in athletics and cricket, there were two cricket clubs in the area at the time, The Heath and Dunamaise as the ban on playing cricket, rugby, soccer and hockey did not come into effect until 1902.

The Heath made their first ever appearance at the Timahoe Tournament on Sunday the 28th of November 1888 in Lambourton Estate. The Leinster Leader reported “A goodly number turned out to see the games and amongst those seen was a due proportion of the fair sex.” The game itself was against Luggacurren and it was the first public appearance for both teams. The paper reported “although both teams appeared for the first time in public contest, they displayed an amount of science and pluck as would do credit to much more noted teams. The play was so well sustained throughout that at the call of time, they were evens, each party having scored a point.”

The Heath contested their first Senior county Final in 1890 against Ballyroan having defeated Courtwood, Ratheniska and Moyanna en route to the Final. They suffered defeat on a score-line of 3 points to 2. The Heath won their first title in 1892 as part of an amalgamation with Marborough and defeated Courtwood and Stradbally on the way to the final where they again played Ballyroan, this time the they had an easy win on a score-line of 5 – 05 to 1 point. GAA in the county dwindled in the intervening years and there wasn’t as many games played, the club did not partake in the Championship in 1894, ‘95 or ‘96 and amalgamated with Marborough in 1897, ‘98 and ‘99. There was no Championship in 1900 in either football or hurling.

The Heath Club did not participate in the 1901, ‘02 or ‘03 championships and returned to Senior in 1904 and ’05 but reverted back to a Junior team from 1906 to 1912. Some of the better players played Senior with other neighbouring clubs including Raheenabrougue and Stradbally and won Senior medals with Stradbally in 1905 and with Raheenabrogue in 1906. The Heath in their 1st year back as a Senior team progressed to the County Final of 1913 after beating Abbeyleix and Portarlington and recorded an easy win over Rathdowney. They reached the Senior Final the following year again and were beaten by Ballyroan after a work injury to one of their best players Jack Delaney prevented him from playing any part in the game. The Juniors won their first title that year however when they defeated Stradbally. This was the first time that a club had won a football championship with their second team.

The Heath originally wore Scarlet and Grey jerseys but changed over to Black and Amber after a number of years. The Laois team wore the Heath’s colours of Black and Amber from 1914 to the end of the 1920’s.

Some of the more famous players of the past few years include current Laois Minor Football manager Denis Lalor, Chris Bergin Pat & Noel Roe. There have also been a few All Ireland medal winners in the club from the past few years including David O Hara, Shane Hennessy, Michael Lambe & Micheal Clancy.

The Heath’s last Senior Title came in 1993 after an epic battle with Ballyroan when The Heath prevailed in the replay.The Heath have had success at minor level since then but have failed to follow it on with more Senior success although The Heath Junior A’s did the double this year (2009) when they won both the Championship and the Division 3 League Title.