1996 was a very significant year in the sporting history of the parish with the reopening of the Community Sportsfield in Tullycross after a lapse of five years. A large crowd turned up to witness a Renvyle victory over An Cheathrú Rua in the quarter final of Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta. The home side were comfortable winners on the scoreline of 3-7 to 1-5 and their form was even more impressive in a well deserved 2-7 to 0-8 victory over Carna Caiseal in the semi final. It was a measure of revenge for their championship exit to the same opposition one year earlier but Carna Caiseal were ultimately to have the last laugh before the end of the year. Renvyle lost the final of Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta to Michael Breathnachs by 1-4 to 0-6 and they had only themselves to blame on the day. Despite dominating for along spells in general play, they spurned too many chances in front of goal and were subsequently hit by a well worked goal with only five minutes remaining. The following month, Michael Breathnachs went on to win the All-Ireland Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta Junior championship for the first time ever. Renvyle refocused for the West Board Junior A Championship in the hope of getting past the first round for the first time since 1992. City side Eire Óg gave them a stern test in their opening quarter final clash in Oughterard but Renvyle eventually prevailed on a scoreline of 1-11 to 1-9. Their subsequent semi-final encounter with Michael Breathnachs in Killannin ended in a draw, 0-8 apiece. The replay in Clonbur also saw both sides deadlocked at the final whistle but Renvyle had the greater hunger and desire in extra time and this was reflected in the final scoreline of 3-14 to 1-14 in their favour.
There were joyous celebrations afterwards and all the talk in Burke’s that evening centred on the following Sunday’s eagerly awaited encounter with Carna-Cashel. There was a great sense of anticipation and excitement within the parish in the days leading up to it. The fact that we were now back on our beloved Tullycross pitch for training purposes had really given us a new lease of life and the team was playing with great energy, confidence and self-belief. Then the unexpected bombshell hit us, just two days before the final was due to take place. Our Secretary was officially informed that Michael Breathnachs had lodged an objection against the eligibility of two of our players and to our great dismay and disbelief, the objection was upheld by the West Board administrators of the day. All the Renvyle players, officials and management were totally shattered by this unexpected development. It was 1970 all over again. We subsequently appealed and I recall being part of a Renvyle delegation that met with West Board Officers in the Lake Hotel in Oughterard. The purpose of our mission was to point out the glaring and obvious errors in the written appeal. We endeavoured to articulate our case in a clear and dignified manner, but it was all to no avail.
After further discussions and negotiations, Michael Breathnachs granted us a rematch in Oughterard which eventually took place about ten weeks after the second match. It was another nail biting encounter with a brilliant long range point by Barry John Conneely in the dying seconds bringing the match to extra time. As in the previous encounter, Renvyle found a new gear in the additional half hour and outscored their Gaeltacht opponents by 2-5 to 1-2 in the process to eventually prevail on a final scoreline of 2-14 to 1-11. The 1996 West Board Junior A Championship Final between Carna-Cashel and Renvyle was eventually played in November, three months after the original fixture was sent out. The sides were level at four points apiece at the interval but Carna-Cashel dominated proceedings after the break to win the match by 0-12 to 0-5. The Gaeltacht club achieved intermediate status that year by defeating Corofin in the County Junior A League Final and Renvyle were once again left to reflect on what might have been.
Full Version Available in “Pride in the Parish: Volume 2”