It wasn’t easy getting here, and it isn’t going to get any easier for them on Sunday, but Charlestown have pushed themselves to the brink of provincial glory for the first time since 2001. On Sunday at 2pm they will get the chance to claim their second ever Connacht title in front of their home faithful in Fr O’Hara Park. After losing the previous two county finals Charleston’s main objective for the year was to put those two defeats to right, which they did against Knockmore in the county final when they claimed a deserving win.
The Connacht semi-final against Roscommon champions Castlerea was always going to be a tough encounter, coming so soon after the county championship, but the Sarsfields men showed true grit and determination to come back at the death and send the game into extra time before coming out eventual winners in Kiltoom, and their reward is a crack at Galway champions Corofin on Sunday.
But their win over Castlerea came at a cost with inspirational midfielder David ‘Ginger’ Tiernan ruled out of this weekend’s game after he fractured a bone in his ankle in the build-up to the move which would eventually lead to his side’s equaliser in Kiltoom a fortnight ago. The border club were dealt another blow with the news that free taker Richard Haran, who has been in such good form for the side this year, is also a very serious doubt with a fractured bone in his wrist.
The injuries will give the Charlestown managment team of Ciaran McBrien, along with selectors Philip Finn and Sean Higgins, plenty food for thought over the coming days as they try to find the right balance in their starting 15 to line up against the Galway champions. A lot will now be expected from Tom Parsons in the midfield sector. The past couple of weeks has shown Parson’s start to regain the form he seemed to have lost earlier in the year and a big 60 minutes will be required from the Sligo IT student. Sean Morris came into replace Tiernan in the semi-final and could be in line for the starting spot. Another man who put his hand up for inclusion after coming off the bench in the Connacht semi-final was defender Kevin Duignan. The veteran from their 2001 success missed out on the county final due to injury, but his powerful display after coming into the action in Kiltoom has put him firmly in the mix for a starting spot on Sunday. The players the management pick for the starting side on Sunday know that they will face a very serious examination from the Galway champions once the ball has been thrown in. Corofin have been there or there about’s in Galway football for the past 15 years and claimed the provincial title last year.
But Corofin, the defending Connacht champions, will come to Mayo on Sunday without Michael Comer who injured his cruciate ligament, and have doubts over Alan O’Donovon who has been out for almost a month now and Kieran Fitzgerald who missed their Connacht semi-final win .
For the Galway opinion on the game, see Ray Silke’s column and for all the action from the game see www.advertiser.ie/mayo from Sunday evening.