The Championship

Donegal's Ryan McHugh hails leader Neil McGee after red card

Donegal's Ryan McHugh in action last Sunday against Fermanagh

RYAN McHUGH says it was time Donegal pulled Neil McGee “out of a hole” as the Gweedore clubman has been doing it for his native county for years.

The Donegal full-back was red-carded for striking out at Fermanagh’s Ruairi Corrigan towards the end of the first-half of last Sunday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final - and despite their numerical disadvantage, Rory Gallagher’s men still managed to win by seven points.

“The Fermanagh game was extremely tough,” said McHugh.

“We knew there was going to be nothing easy. Fermanagh had a great league campaign and a good start to the Championship. We got off to a good start, but they came back at us towards the end of the first-half and the sending-off hurt us a lot.”

The Kilcar man added: “Everyone knows Neil is one of our biggest players. He’s been a leader of this team over the last five years. Without him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

"He was a huge loss to us in the second-half. But Neil’s pulled us out of holes before and, thankfully, we pulled him out of one against Fermanagh.”

McHugh, whose Donegal side face rivals Monaghan in the provincial semi-finals on June 25, revealed he never expected them to lose, even with 14 men.

“We never doubt ourselves - even if we go down to 13 or 12 men, we always feel we’re good enough and that we have the talent to get over any team on any given day.”

On the prospect of facing the Farney men in nine days’ time, who have beaten Donegal in two of the last three Ulster finals, McHugh said: “It’s 2-1 in games between us.

"We’ve had a good rivalry over the last couple of years. We’re going to be up against it, we’ve only a couple of weeks to prepare, so we’ll get into the best shape we can and give the best performance possible and, hopefully, it’ll be enough on the day.”

The Championship

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