HE’S ONE of the odd men out in the Donegal dressing room – but Eoin McHugh is determined to get his hands on a coveted Ulster SFC medal on Sunday-week.
The Kilcar man narrowly lost Ulster finals in 2015 and 2016 and was beaten in a semi-final in 2017.
Last year, McHugh watched from America, having taken a year out of the county panel, as Donegal overcame Fermanagh to win the Anglo Celt again.
On Saturday, McHugh was thrust in from the off as Donegal defeated Tyrone in their semi-final.
“You have to put the head down and make sure you don’t get carried away with beating Tyrone,” he said.
“I have lost two Ulster finals and a semi-final. I’m one of the few – Jason McGee and Oisin Gallen are other ones – who doesn’t have an Ulster medal.
“It would be lovely to get one but you have to keep the head and I’m sure Declan and the boys will keep us level-headed for the final. We won’t get ahead of ourselves.”
McHugh’s inclusion came as a jolt, but it was the latest nod to Declan Bonner’s vow that players showing form in training will get selected.
McHugh said: “From the start of the year he told us: ‘If you’re going well at training you’re going to get your chance’ and you saw that through the League with Oisin Gallen.
“He was flying at training and he got his chance – it doesn’t matter who you are, Declan will play you if you’re going well. If you’re in the right position to play he’ll put you in.
“I took the year out last year and when I came back I struggled to get up to pace with the boys. I found it hard to get back into it in terms of getting the pace up.
“I’m working in Dublin as well so you’re up and down. Declan took the chance with me and I was delighted about that. I’ll keep the head down for the next two weeks and try and push on for the Ulster final.”
Donegal delivered something of a statement win with their defeat of Tyrone, but McHugh has been around for long enough not to let any hype take a hold.
He said: “A win’s a win. It’s a cliche, but it’s a semi-final and nothing has been won. We have no medals in our pockets after that game but it was important for us to get over it.
“You have to beat these teams to get the medals and Tyrone, going on what they did last year, are one of the top teams. We’re extremely happy to get the chance to play them and the way we’re extremely happy with that performance as well but there’s plenty to work on and we have two massive weeks ahead of us now before we play Cavan.”Tags: