Twenty years on from what was one of the most epic battles in Mayo club championship history, when Garrymore and Charlestown engaged in a four game classic in the county senior quarter-final that the south Mayo men finally won after 300 minutes of football, the sides will kick-start their 2015 championship campaigns against each other in Garrymore on Sunday. That series has gone down in folklore in Mayo football and there is even one man who played in that series for Charlestown still lining out today, with Aidan Higgins back for another year with the east Mayo men.
One man who was a bit too young to be involved in that game but is a key member of the Charlestown attack is Colm Maye, the secondary school teacher took some time out last week to speak to the Mayo Advertiser ahead of their round one meeting. "I don't remember it myself, but it's been spoken about, and from what I've been told Aidan Higgins had a very dodgy haircut back then, but he's still here playing today, that's some commitment," commented Maye.
Both sides also met last year in the championship at the quarter-final stage, with Garrymore running out two point winners at the end of that battle, in which Maye scored seven points in his side's 1-14 to 1-12 loss. The Charlestown attacker is looking forward to getting a crack at revenge on Sunday. "It's never an easy place to go, it's always a tough battle in Garrymore. They gave us two beatings last year, so we'll be looking to improve on that all right anyway. We're looking forward to the game and we'll be respecting them, you have to judging on what they did last year, they beat us in the quarter-final and gave Castlebar a good game. They are obviously moving in the right direction, but we're making good moves too ourselves."
Charlestown making the knock-out stages last season was a bit of surprise when they ended up coming out of a crazy group even though they just won a single game. "It can only improve on last year, sure we didn't even know coming off the pitch whether we were through or not, but we got through in the end, we'd hope to avoid that kind of thing this year and have ourselves taken care of," said Maye.
This year got off to a bit of a rocky start with Charlestown only getting a management team in place late in the day as Maye explains. "It wasn't ideal all right, we kept training by ourselves, it was a bit hard when there was no direction at times, but the lads have come in and sorted all the problems out and got us back on track. Getting the right fellows in was the main thing, we sat down as a group of players and spoke about it and left it to the committee and carried on training. Some of the older players took the initiative and made sure that we didn't lose out on vital early months, when there is no manager in place it could be easy to say, I'm not going training tonight. But all the players bought into what we wanted to do this year and there wasn't any of that. We concentrated on what we can do ourselves." With Ciaran McBrien back on board as manager there will be no lack of passion and professionalisim on the sideline, the Charlestown free taker believes. "He's a true Charlestown man, he's brilliant at getting everything set up for us and brings a great professionalism to it," he said.
If Charlestown are going to get out of their group this year they have two games on the road out of three, with a trip to Shrule-Glencorrib up next before they welcome Kiltane to east Mayo in round three. "Yeah, just the one home game, it's the same as last year where we've had to head on the road twice. It's not going to be an easy group, all four teams have a chance of getting out of it. You've to give yourself a fighting chance to get out of it, and getting a win the first day is a big move towards that. We've to go the hard way, but what about it."