NOEL (Chic) O’Gorman, who died suddenly at Portlaoise Regional Hospital on Wednesday, September 29 was a former prominent clubman of The O’Hanrahans Gaelic football club in Carlow Town during the early 1960s and a hurler with Pearses of Carlow Town.
Aged 82, Noel resided at The Downs, Portlaoise. His death came as a great shock to everyone who knew him.
A native of St Killian’s Crescent in Carlow, Noel was a speedy and effective left half forward with O’Hanrahans when they won the Carlow senior football championship of 1961 with a clear-cut 3-13 to 2-5 victory over great town rivals Éire Óg, a victory that stripped their opponents of their county title, won for the first time the previous year with victory over Tullow, who were 1959 county champions. That 1961 SFC decider was the first all-town Carlow SFC final in 24 years and a meeting which attracted much national attention as it pitted brother against brother.
Noel also played in the 1962 final in which Éire Óg fully avenged that heavy 1961 defeat by The Blues, winning by 3-13 to 2-5. Notably both victories were by 11 points and both were double score successes.
His passing marks the death of the last of the Blues forward line which lined out that day 60 years ago, having been predeceased by Michael McDarby, Peter Walker, John Browne, Ned Doogue and Georgie (Lep) Hogan. The only survivors of that Blues team are Pat Somers, Eamon Fitzpatrick and Peter Flood.
Noel played on with The Blues, lining out at Intermediate level up to 1973 when he played in the Carlow junior final replay against Fenagh. Fenagh won that reply by 2-7 to 2-5. Noel never played football for any other club than O’Hanrahans – in that regard he was a ‘True Blue.’
O’Hanrahans GFC posted a message of sympathy on social media following Noel’s passing, including a photo of Noel from his playing days.
A talented hurler, Noel won a Carlow SHC medal with Pearse in 1963 when the townsmen defeated St Mullins in the decider by 9-9 to 4-10, on a day when dual star, the late Eamon (Ned) Long, set a scoring record of 5-1 for a Carlow senior hurling championship final. That record still stands.
Noel was a panellist in the Carlow senior hurling team which claimed the county’s All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling title of 1962 with a 6-15 to 3-3 win over the exiles of London in Croke Park. It was the most significant victory in Carlow’s hurling history.
Noel worked with Ordnance Survey Ireland throughout his working life, being based in The Phoenix Park. He lived on The Navan Road in the capital for most of his working life and retired from the Ordnance service at the age of 65, after more than 40 years dedicated and loyal service.
For the last 17 years Noel lived happily in Portlaoise with his long-time partner Lena, a native of the Laois county town.
In retirement Noel devoted his time to DIY around the house and gardening – he had great hands and was meticulous about his work. He and Lena liked to go for drives around the country and went abroad every year to explore different countries.
Noel was waked at home in The Downs on Thursday, September 30 when prayers were led by Fr David Vard, CC, Portlaoise. The Funeral Mass for Noel was celebrated by Fr Vard, when significant symbols of his life were brought to the altar at the start of Mass – a copy of the O’Hanrahans GFC Centenary book, a sliotar and a colour photo of the Carlow Intermediate hurling team of 1962.
Readings at Mass were by Miriam Townsend and her brother Emmet, daughter and son of Noel’s partner Lena, while Prayers of the Faithful were recited by two of Noel’s nieces and a grandniece. A eulogy to Noel was delivered by Emmet Townsend, who spoke of him as a lovely, kind, generous and caring man. He referred to Noel’s love of the O’Hanrahans football club and of the GAA in general and of his great pride in having worked for Ordnance Survey Ireland in what was a successful and distinguished career.
The singing of hymns at Mass was by Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine followed by burial in St Mary’s cemetery, Carlow.
Members of O’Hanrahans GFC formed a guard of honour at the cemetery and carried the coffin to Noel’s final resting place.
Noel is predeceased by his sisters Pauline and Gemma.
He is mourned by his partner Lena, sisters Dympna and Zita, nieces, nephews, extended family, former colleagues in Ordnance Survey Ireland, O’Hanrahans GFC, neighbours and circle of friends.