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Serving the Community for over half a Century - Ballinasloe Town AFC Estd.1951
The Early Years (Taken from the book '50th Anniversary Celebrations 1951/52 - 2001/02)
Ballinasloe Town Soccer Club was officially founded in 1951. Perhaps the best way to get an insight into those early days would be to read the following paragraph, which is an account given by the late Billy Vaughan who was the first Chairman of the club. Billy unfortunately passed away in the recent past and he will be sadly missed as he had maintained a keen interest in the affairs of the club all his life.
"The successful club as we now know it, began to take shape in the 1950s. At this time no games were played in the winter months, so to compensate for the lack of activity, Paddy Griffin of the Working Man's Club organised a soccer match in the Fair Green. Games were then organised for every Saturday until the Council found out about it. Every effort was made to stop the 'Foreign' sport being played in the Green but widespread local support and newspaper coverage in the Galway Democrat only served to make the pioneers even stronger and they formed a club in 1951."
The very first committee elected were as follows:
Joint Presidents: Fr. Dunne & N.E. O'Carroll (R.I.P)
Chairman: Bill Vaughan (R.I.P)
Secretary: Bobby Walsh (R.I.P)
Treasurer: Tony Bradley (R.I.P)
Committee:J. Lennon, Johnny Riddell, Jim Riddell (R.I.P), Paddy Griffin (R.I.P), Eamonn Carroll (R.I.P), Des Byrne (R.I.P), Paddy Greally,M. Greally, Peter Cummins, Dentist Byrne (R.I.P), Michael Bradley (R.I.P), Ted Brown, D. Nullins, G. Kelly, D. Staunton.
In those early years days the club played friendlies wherever and whenever they could get a game. They played most of their friendlies in Athlone and Galway City as there were very few clubs in existence in the West of Ireland at this stage. So great was the enthusiasm among the players that they would think nothing of travelling to Limerick for a game, a trip they made on several occasions.
It was not until 3 years after the club was formed that they got the opportunity to join an organised league, when they entered the Athlone Summer League and played in the Beamish Cup in 1954. The club did not win any major honours in the Athlone League but the experience gained of playing in a competitive league was to prove invaluable when this know how was passed on to younger players who came on stream in the 1960's.
For the first 18 years of its existence the club played its football in the town's Fair Green but in 1968 the club moved its base to the Curragh Grounds which at that time was rented from Ballinasloe UDC. In the seventies the club acquired extra land adjacent to the Curragh Ground from the UDC and in the mid to late 1970's major development work took place at the ground, which involved levelling the new pitch area and improving drainage. The end result of this was a 3.75 acre site which the club had at its disposal albeit still a rented ground at that time.
A crucially important event in the history of the club took place in the Summer of 1988 when the Dubarry Apache Club and Ballinasloe Town Club took the major decision to amalgamate and to form one club in the town.
The Dubarry Apache Club had over the previous ten years been the most successful club in Roscommon Soccer winning numerous titles while the Ballinasloe Club had purchased the Curragh Grounds in 1986 and were about to embark on major development work at the grounds. There were very energetic and committed people in each club who were prepared to work together for a new united club. People like Brendan Fahy, Brendan McNally, Pat Campbell, Johnny Walsh, Francis Egan, Tommy McGrath, Harry Bugler, Brendan Keane and Tom Donohue. It was a marriage made in heaven.
The main players in the amalgamation process were Johnny Walsh, Brendan McNally, Pat Campbell, Francis Egan, Brendan Fahy, Brendan Keane and Tommy McGrath. The new club for some time considered adopting the name Ballinasloe United to reflect the new united club but eventually settled for Ballinasloe Town.
Ballinasloe Town AFC created history in 2004 when the club became the first side from the Roscommon & District League to triumph in the Connaught Cup. The Club defeated Manulla FC 2-1 at Milebush Park in Castlebar.
DUBARRY APACHE an important footnote in the history of BTAFC
In their first year playing in the Roscommon League in the 1978/79 Season the Ballinasloe factory side Dubarry Apache beat Shiven Rovers in the League Cup following a replay, it was the first time Shiven Rovers had been beaten in a Cup Final. It was their inaugural season in the Roscommon League and while Castlerea Celtic won the League Championship, the League Cup for Dubarry was a good return for their first season.
To read further histories of both clubs then look out for the following books
Ballinasloe Town A.F.C 50th Anniversary Celebrations 1951/52 season - 2001/02 season
Dubarry Apache F.C 10th Anniversary Booklet 1977-87
www.BallinasloeTownAFC.com is particularly grateful to both club's stalwart Johnny Walsh for all of his kind help in providing information for this website.
We will endeavour to add to our history pages over the coming season as we gather more information from former players and club members, if you have any information such as recollections, match reports etc you would like to share with our website then please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org