THE MEMORIES of 2017, when Kilcar ended a 24-year wait for Donegal SFC success, haven’t dimmed but Mark McHugh says the days of defeat live larger in the mind.
McHugh was the Man of the Match on that October Sunday four years ago, when Kilcar held sway in a low-scoring final against Naomh Conaill, 0-7 to 0-4.
The two teams go under the lights at Sean Mac Cumhaill Park on Saturday night for the delayed 2020 final.
“You remember the ones you lose more than the ones you win because it stays with you longer,” McHugh said.
“I think that is what got us over the line in 2017 because the hurt we had the previous year.
“I always say that it’s like you are attending a funeral or attending a wedding. It’s just two very different atmospheres.”
Kilcar were caught by Glenswilly in the 2016 decider before returning to capture the prize in 2017.
Five years previously, McHugh was an All-Star as Donegal won the All-Ireland. The biggest prize in Donegal club football completed the set.
He said: “We attended a lot of events, dinner dances and functions after 2012 going around clubs that had won county championships and I was jealous as hell of those clubs.
“I was jealous of Naomh Conaill. I was jealous of Gaoth Dobhair and there is no point in saying any different. I really wanted it.
“It was the one I wanted to win. “I had won all the other major honours in the game that were to be won and the Donegal medal was one I was missing to complete the set.
“We had come desperately close on a few occasions, especially the year before (2016). It was the one I really wanted.”
Kilcar haven’t been back to the final since, beaten 1-9 to 0-6 by Naomh Conaill in a 2018 quarter-final and going down 3-8 to 0-12 to Gaoth Dobhair in a semi-final a year later.
The 2021 version is just around the corner next month but first Kilcar want to get their paws on Dr Maguire again.
McHugh said: “In the last number of years we would be very unhappy at not getting back to the final. We were very depleted against Naomh Conaill in 2018 and Gaoth Dobhair showed us up in 2019.
“It’s a county final and it’s where you want to be. That drives us on.
“The two teams are similar in terms of style of play and physicality, and if you take away the county final of 2017, any time we have played each other they have been good close matches. It’s a good healthy rivalry.
“I’d say both teams have never done more prep for a game in their lives, but it’s all about who performs on the day.”Tags: