Billy Howlin was one of the most gifted forwards to play club football in Wexford. When playing for his club, Sarsfields and the Wexford Co. Team, he was outstanding in his left half forward position. He was elusive, brainy and skilful and was deadly in front of goal, both from play and from frees.
He was absolutely brilliant in his free taking, seldom missing the target from any angle. His accleration when in possession was superb and on many occasions, left his marker chasing shadows. He boxed most opponents with deft touches and skilful artistry. He displayed a coolness at all times during a game. Billy pursued every ball with a zeal that at times was breathtaking in its intensity and resolution.
He was born in 1948 and was educated at Wexford C.B.S.. His Boyhood Hero was – Cyril Dunne (Galway).
One of the best goalie’s he has seen in football was – Johnny Geraghty (Galway), and in Hurling, he selects – Damien Fitzhenry.
He started playing Senior with the – Sarsfields – in 1966 and played with them until 1972, before he moved to Arklow. With the club, he won – 3 Co. Minor Football Medals with them in 1964, 1965 and 1966, 1 U’21 Football Medal with the Sarsfields in 1967, 2 u’21 Hurling Medals with the Faythe Harriers in 1968 and 1969, 1 Special Junior Football Medal in 1965 and 1 Co. Senior Football Medal in 1967.
With the Wexford Co. Team, he played Minor Football, U’21 Football and Senior Football from 1965 to 1969.
The four best Sarsfields Footballers that impressed him the most were – Pete Crowley R.I.P., Jim Roice, Jimmy Roche R.I.P. and Jimmy Murphy. Billy’s Father – Billy Howlin Snr. R.I.P. – won many Honours with the great Volunteers Footballers in the 40’s.
The best footballers he has seen were – Jimmy Keaveney (Dublin), and in hurling, he selects – Henry Shefflin. Liam Bent was the best U’Age footballer he has seen.
The four greatest footballers he has ever seen were – Cyril Dunne (Galway), Jimmy Keaveney (Dublin), Matt Connor and Tony McTague (Offaly).
In Wexford, the four greatest players he has seen were – Jack Berry R.I.P., Joe Foley, Pete Crowley R.I.P. and Mattie Forde.
The two best dual players he has seen outside of Wexford were – Teddy McCarthy (Cork) and Leighton Glynn (Wicklow).
In Wexford, he selects – Joe Foley and Jack Berry R.I.P. – as tops.
One of the best club teams he has seen in Football was the – Castletown Team – that won so many Senior Titles from 1965 to 1981.
The two best Full Backs he has seen were – Noel Tierney (Galway) and Leo Murphy (Down).
The two best Midfielders he has seen were – Mick O’Connell and Joe Lennon (Down).
The two best Full Forwards he has seen were – Jimmy Keaveney and Sean O’Neill (Down).
When playing, the Footballers that he found the most difficult to elude were – Eugene Mulligan (Offaly), John Fitzharris (Gusserane), John Quigley and Denis Asple.
One of his finest Games playing for the Sarsfields was vs Castletown in the 1967 Co. Senior Football Final.
With his intelligent play, he had a regal Game with his surging runs, superb control with the ball and precision, accuracy made him a star elite on the day.
Present day Footballers which he is impressed with are – Ciaran Donaghy (Kerry), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin) and Bernard Brogan (Dublin), Paddy McBrearty (Donegal) and Lee Keegan (Mayo).
The two best Full Forwards he has seen in Football were – Eoin “Bomber” Liston and Peter Canavan.