Temple Villa football club are an integral part of the community in the Baylin/Mount Temple area. The rural setting between Athlone and Moate lends itself to a close bond among its residents and Villa play their part in the sporting circle.
From humble beginnings in the 1970s, Temple Villa are now the envy of many as they cater for all age groups. The facilities on nearly ten acres at TP Hickey Park are a testament to the hard work put in over the years. Two full size pitches and a fine clubhouse facility are a long way ahead of Dandywell Park in Moate where Villa played for many years.
With an already thriving underage set up, the club launched a new under 17 team this season in the Combined Counties league with the senior team also returning after a short break. Since its formation in 1973, Villa have regularly featured in league battles and cup finals with the senior team in particular having a proud history.
Kieran Carroll, Jimmy Daly and Seamus Killane were the club founders with TP Hickey soon coming on board. The Longford and District League was the first port of call where many successes were enjoyed. Hickey was club secretary for many years and was rightly honoured by the CCFL in 2008 for his contribution to football.
The biggest day since the clubs formation came in 1983 when the John Farrell Counties Cup was lifted at St Mel’s Park Athlone when Cavan Town were beaten. At underage level, the under 16s reached the quarter final of the SFAI Cup in 2000 where they were narrowly beaten by a fancied Home Farm outfit. A Connacht Cup final for the under 16s was a recent highlight while many league titles and cups have been won in the Athlone Schoolboy/Girls league over the years.
Many well-known players have passed through the clubs ranks with Eric Molloy and Padraig Dully spending their formative years at Villa. Former Athlone Town stars such as John Morris Burke, Padraig Nicholson and Dominic Fitzpatrick have also lined out in the club colours. Nicholson took his place in the Combined Counties Football League hall of fame in 2012 while with Villa.
In recent years, the clubs senior and youths teams have done battle in the CCFL. The seniors won Division Two in 2008, were runners up to Mullingar Town in Division One in 2014 while also reaching the Premier Division Cup final a year later. The Youths finished runners up in Division One in 2014.
After a brief sabbatical, the club senior team was back in action this season as they entered Division Two of the CCFL under manager Philly Dully. Home advantage was enjoyed for the opening fixture on the first day of September. Ballynockan were the opposition and the spoils were shared in a six goal thriller. Bryan Lynam with two and Mickey Nugent were the Villa scorers.
Later in the month, Villa’s first ever CCFL under 17 game saw Portlaoise Town provide the opposition. The hosts would have been a little disappointed at surrendering a two goal lead as the Laois outfit collected a point from another three all draw. Callum Nugent, William Reynolds and Eoghan Curran on target for Villa.
A first victory of the season followed for the seniors as St. Carthages were edged out by the odd goal in seven. It proved to be the only win to date though as early season form has faded somewhat. The eagerly awaited local derby with Melville saw Villa surrender a three goal advantage in the closing stages, finishing with just a point. Form since then has been patchy with the team in midtable when action ceased but with games in hand on all the other teams in Division Two.
The under 17s in contrast have been more consistent and are well placed to challenge Mullingar Athletic and Birr for the Division One title.