With its roots in the old and now-extinct Rathdowney RFC, Portlaoise Rugby Club was founded in 1966 and has been one of the leading lights in the provincial game ever since. Currently competing in the Leinster League Division 2, Portlaoise is hopeful of qualifying for next season’s Division 1. The club boasts a proud Provincial Towns Cup record, with a pair of wins in 1981 (7-6 winners over Naas in North Kildare) and 2003 (when they upset hot favourites Navan 20-3 in Roscrea) gleaned from seven final appearances.

After Rathdowney ceased playing in the early 1950s there was no rugby in the county of Laois until a group of the game’s supporters got together and formed Portlaoise Rugby Club at a meeting in Kelly’s Hotel in the town. The club got the use of a field opposite the County Hospital and then it was a race back to Kelly’s where each team had the use of a bath and hot water — as long as it lasted!