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Charlton was ‘one of our own’

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IN HIS ELEMENT The late Jack Charlton and Ghillie Michael Connolly at The Pontoon Bridge Hotel end of season fishing on Lough Conn back in 2008. Pic: Keith Heneghan/Phocus

Michael Gallagher

A man who made an indelible mark on Irish sport had an equally remarkable impact on life in Mayo. The late Jack Charlton’s well-known love affair with Ballina and the hills and dales of Mayo was recalled at yesterday’s (Monday’s) meeting of Mayo County Council in Castlebar.
Councillor Mark Duffy from Ballina interjected at the start of the meeting to send his condolences to the Charlton family and propose a minute’s applause for the former Irish manager who passed away at the weekend.
“I will be making another proposal at the Ballina Municipal Area meeting, to mark his legacy to Ballina and Ireland, but today I think it’s only right we should remember the hugely positive impact Jack had on all our lives. He spent much of his time in Ballina and I think it’s only fitting that we mark his contribution to Irish life and the sporting life of our nation,” said Cllr Duffy, who is believed to want to name a bridge over the River Moy after the famed Irish football manager.
Cllr Duffy words were followed by his colleague John O’Hara, who said Charlton made a huge contribution to life in the locality. “He stood out. He had time for people. He’d be walking down the street in the town and he’d talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him, young or old. He did so much for Ireland, but he also did a lot for Ballina and Mayo and he’ll never be forgotten.”
Charlton’s love of the River Moy was a major tourism boost according to Cllr Seamus Weir. “He was a great ambassador for us. His ties to the river meant a lot and we will only see the benefit of that going forward. I had the pleasure of having a pint with him in Jordan’s and I’ll never forget it. He was straight down the line – totally honest, and I liked that.”
News of Charlton’s passing has been greeted with great sadness across Ireland, but particularly in north Mayo according to Cllr Jarlath Munnelly. “There’s a huge sense of loss and an outpouring of goodwill since the sad news broke. Britain had the Victorian era and the Elizabethan era, here in Ireland we had the Charlton era, he made a massive impact on everyone.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Cathaoirleach of the council, Richard Finn, who expressed his deepest sympathies to all who mourned ‘one of our own.’