The All-Ireland winning player and double All Star was reflecting on how so many young players are now having to leave the county to find work.
He says his homeclub Kilcar has always punched above its weight in terms of getting big performances out of a small squad: they won last year’s minor championship with just two substitutes on their bench.
Kilcar would always have been susceptible to the affects of a recession.
“We are down Barry McGinley and Oisín McFadden, both former county minors,” McHugh said in an interview.
“But as it happened, both of them left through choice. We are lucky in that there is work here in Kilcar at the moment (an announcement has just been made for a huge hydro-dam in the area).
“But we are never overburdened with players and it is always a concern.
“In general, I do think it is worse now than in the 1980s because of the fact that it is not just a recession but the huge debt we are saddled with.
“And I think we are going to see a lot of smaller clubs amalgamating in the coming years in order to field teams.”
Two years ago Donegal’s then manager John Joe Doherty spoke of his fear his squad would be decimated by players forced to leave to find work.
It’s thought eight of the current Donegal squad are unemployed. It’s not known if any have plans to emigrate.
The county is being hit by young people leaving – many of them choosing to go to Australia.