Appreciation- Tom Scully

Tom Scully – a name synonymous with rugby all over Ireland

By Denis Croke

For those of a certain era, the name Tom Scully was not just synonymous with rugby in Portlaoise, but throughout Leinster and indeed Ireland. News of his death on Sunday shook the rugby fraternity to the core.

Tom was, in every sense of the word, a larger than life character. He was there from the early days in Portlaoise RFC, first as a player and then as an administrator.

And while he made his mark on the playing pitch, it was off the pitch that he really shone. He served in a number of rolls on Portlaoise RFC committees but it was as Team Secretary that he really made his mark.

In the 1970s, ‘80s and even ‘90s, this was one of the most important rolls in any rugby club. Back then you did not get a fixed list of league games from October to April.

No, you had infrequent competitive games and it was up top the Team Secretary to get friendly games for all the other weeks, and those were the days when there could be up to five teams taking the field on a Sunday.

This involved the Team Secretary getting on the phone, ringing clubs the length and breadth of Ireland. Then the inveigling began. We’ll go down, or up, to you, if you play a return fixture against us Later in the season, or something like that.

It is a testimony to Tom’s perseverance and persuasive powers that Portlaoise RFC established links with many of the most prominent clubs in Ireland. A few that spring to mind are Wanderers, Old Wesley, Shannon and Young Munster.

And no matter where you went, all you had to do was mentions Tom Scully’s name and you were accepted.

On latter years Tom went on to serve on the North Midlands committee and with the Leinster Branch where his work and dedication to the game of rugby was always recognised.

Yes, Sunday was a sad day for all of us who knew him, but it did give us cause to remember the craic and many fun days that were had in his company.

Again, for those who were fortunate enough to be around Portlaoise club in those days, they will never forget Tom’s rendition of the Tom Jones hot, Delilah. How he hit those high notes in that wonderful falsetto voice.

Than there was the annual party piece at the club’s dress dance when Tom, along with Johnny Delany too to the stage to sing Cinderella Rockfella. Talk about bringing the house down.

We will all miss Tom Scully but nothing like he will be missed by his loving family.

Tom is mourned by his Brenda, children Brian, Kathryn, Philip and Tommy, grandchildren Ryan, Faye, Charlie, Ruby and Sadie, brothers Pat and Kenny, sisters Noreen and Ann, son-in-law John, daughters-in-law Jackie, Gemma and Niamh, his special friend Joe Egan, nephews, nieces, former customers and many friends in Portlaoise Rugby Club and Portlaoise GAA Club.