The club had no team in the championship in 1948 and ’49. In 1950 a new club named Naomh Feichín was registered. In that year Naomh Feichín, amalgamated with Cleggan, won the West defeating Oughterard, beat Kinvara in the county semi-final and captured the first official county title for the region by defeating Kilgerril 3-2 to 1 point. The captain was Micko Collins. The Club played senior in 1951 and ‘52 without any success. Re-graded to junior in 1953, once again the west title and county titles were won with victories over Erin’s Hope 3-6 to 1-5 in the West, Isserkelly in the semi-final and Ahascragh in the final 1-5 to 0-2. The captain was Peadar O’Toole. The club amalgamated with Oughterard in 1954 and formed Connemara Gaels and competed unsuccessfully at senior level for a short period.
In 1957, once again as a junior club, Naomh Feichín won the West Final defeating Spiddal 3-3 to 1-3 and overcame Mountbellew in the semi final 0-7 to 1-3. The county final against Fohenagh went to two games. In the first game, the referee made the bizarre decision of calling off the game when one of the Fohenagh players ran away with the only ball that was available. This occurred at an advanced stage in the game when Naomh Feichín was leading 2-2 to 0-2. One wonders if the player’s decision to run away with the ball, knowing that the referee would abandon the game, had anything to do with a headline in the Connacht Tribune two days before the match which stated that four of the Naomh Feichin team would be emigrating to the U.S.A. after the match on the following Sunday. If that indeed was his plan, it didn’t work as Naomh Feichin won the second game 2-7 to 1-1. The captain was Peter Joyce. The amazing thing about this win was that it was achieved without some of the best players in the area being available to play junior football as they were playing senior with St. Patrick’s (Clonbur) who went on to win the senior county league defeating Tuam Stars in the final.
To listen to an appreciation of the 1950 and 53 teams by Martin V Mannion click on track 5.
To listen to John Fitzpatrick, Clifden, an exile in New York tell the tale of 1957, click on track 6.
Minor football: In 1953, Naomh Feichín won the West Minor Final by defeating Erin’s Hope 2-1 to 0-2, defeated the South Board winners in semi-final but lost to Headford in the replayed final. This was a final surrounded in controversy. In the first game the prospect of a replay looked unlikely but for the actions of the referee. The Naomh Feichín team, which featured players from Renvyle, were trailing 2-4 to 0-0 at the interval having played into a gale-force wind and sleet. They had levelled the match without about ten minutes remaining but the referee then abandoned the game. Naomh Feichín lost the replay 4-4 to 2-1.
To listen to Paddy Gannon’s memories of the Minors of 1953, click on track 7.
In 1957 Naomh Feichín’s minor footballers were beaten 4-4 to 0-1 by St Michael’s in the West Final but were awarded the title on a technicality. In 1958, however, St. Michael’s defeated Naomh Feichín 1-8 to 1-2.
Postscript: Tuam Stars were almost invincible in the 1950s when the club won seven county senior championships in a row. During the period 1954 to 1959, Tuam Stars were beaten in only one final and that was in the League Final of 1956 (played in ‘57). The team that beat them was St. Patrick’s Clonbur but in essence, that team was a north Connemara selection, backboned by players from Clifden, Kingstown, Renvyle, Leenane and Maam.
To listen to Petie Kane relate the story of the defeat of Tuam Stars in the 1956 League Final, click on track 8.