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Counties Cup Final Preview

Temple Villa Aim to Bridge 41 Year Gap in Quest for Counties Cup Glory

Saturday evening next June 8th will see the CCFL season coming to a conclusion when the final of the John Farrell Combined Counties Cup takes place in DPD Park Athlone. It promises to be an intriguing affair when a resurgent St Peter’s outfit take on an ever improving Temple Villa side.

A big crowd is expected in Willow Park for this game and a 5.00pm kick-off on a Saturday evening will have supporters of both teams and interested neutrals all wanting to attend this much anticipated game.

Temple Villa will be slight underdogs going into this final, but that will not concern them. This year they have already finished third in Division 1 and have also claimed the Division 1 Cup after beating Longford outfit Moydow FC in the final two weeks ago. This follows on from their double winning season last year in Division 2 and is proof that this team and the club are on the up. They are an experienced team who will not be overawed by the occasion with several of their players being involved in big games before.

Temple Villa was formed in 1973 just recently celebrating their 50th anniversary are based in Mount Temple and during those 50 years have become an integral part of the local and extended community, providing a sporting outlet for hundreds if not thousands of young people down the years.

Perhaps their greatest day was in 1983 when they won this famous old cup for the first and only time. However, the club has seen many other highlights most notably their blossoming underage setup with the club now fielding almost 30 teams ranging from their academy teams right up to their youths and adult teams including an over 35 team. The club is also now fielding and promoting girls football with five teams competing this season.

Another highlight was the procurement of land in Mount Temple where they have built a lovely facility TP Hickey Park named after one of the driving forces behind the club for many years.

Temple Villa have had to overcome Tullamore Town, Gaels Utd, Monksland Utd, Mullingar Athletic and Birr Town to reach the final a route that saw them having to negotiate through three previous winners including the holders Monksland, proving that this team are worthy of their place in the final and will be there to win. They will be looking to the likes of Aaron O’Neill and the very experienced duo of Damien Rushe and Bennny Magennis complimented by the youthful but very talented Dean O’Neill to see them through, but they will also be hoping that their goalkeeper Paul Bannon can follow up his semi-final exploits with another big performance.             

St Peter’s will undoubtedly be favourites to win on Saturday evening. They have completely reorganised over the past couple of seasons and have assembled a very strong team that have already claimed the Paddy Cotter Cup and were desperately unlucky not to have won the Senior Division this season.

Formed in 1980, St Peter’s have always been to the forefront of the game. They competed strongly in the Connacht Senior League for a period before joining the Combined Counties League as a founder member in 2005. Further success followed, but they have only ever won this competition on one occasion beating Mountmellick in 2010. Their greatest achievement came one year earlier in 2009 when they made it all the way to the final of the FAI Junior Cup only to lose to Ballymun Utd in that decider.

A number of further successful years in the Roscommon and District League saw them return to the CCFL two years ago and after a settling in period last year they have pushed on strongly this season.

The club have also begun work in redeveloping McCarthy Park with extensive work already commenced.

While the Club always had some underage teams, there is now a concerted effort to build this section of the club to cater for players from the areas around their home ground in McCarthy Park and bring players through to secure the Clubs presence for many years to come.

St Peter’s received a bye in the first round and they then had to negotiate their way through Killeigh FC, Mullingar Celtic, Clonaslee Utd and Walsh Island Shamrocks. While they did not have to face any Senior Division sides on their way to the final, they were very impressive in all of their games with compressive wins right through the competition.

If they are to bring this good form through to the final they will be hoping that Scott Delaney, Gary Kelly, Jordie Carr, Dylan Stewart and Johnny Keirnan all continue to perform at the level shown in recent weeks.

Temple Villa attempting to win their second Counties Cup  

St Peter’s FC looking to complete a cup double