GAA Football

Good day for Mark McHugh and family after wins for Roscommon and Donegal

Mark McHugh is part of the Roscommon management team this season
Andy Watters

SUNDAY was a good day for the McHugh family. Their native Donegal began the National League by beating 2022 All-Ireland champions Kerry and Roscommon, who include Mark McHugh in their management team, fought back to beat Tyrone, Sam Maguire winners in 2021.

Mark’s younger brother Ryan McHugh didn’t feature for the Tir Chonaill men on Sunday but he is expected to be back in Paddy Carr’s side for Donegal’s visit to Roscommon for the final round of Division One games.

If the way the results went last weekend is anything to go by, that clash could have a lot riding on it.

“It’ll be a bit of craic,” predicted the elder McHugh brother - an All-Ireland winner with Donegal in 2012 - with a laugh as he ran to catch the Roscommon bus before it pulled out of Dr Hyde Park on Sunday.

The Roscommon players and management left their dressingroom in high spirits yesterday after their five-point win. They’d led by three at the break but Tyrone, with the wind at their backs, quickly drew level and then raced ahead when Kieran McGeary punched the ball into their net.

But Tyrone – still searching for the form, individually and collectively, that saw them win the All-Ireland in 2021 – couldn’t see the game out and Roscommon hit three goals in the final quarter to win it.

Promoted last year, the Rossies were seen as potential relegation candidates but they served notice that they are determined to stay put in the top flight.


Ciaran Murtagh scored 2-1 to sink Tyrone at Dr Hyde Park last Sunday


“It’s a start that’s all it is,” said McHugh.

“It’s the first game at the Hyde here with the new management team. They’ve been trying to do something different here for the last few years and I thought in the second half there – after Kieran McGeary’s goal and with us being against the breeze – most teams would have maybe crumbled a wee bit.

“But they fought on and the subs we brought on made a huge difference. We were glad to see it out but, again, it’s only a start.”

Next up for Roscommon is a derby battle with neighbours Galway. The Tribesmen drew with rivals Mayo in their opener and host the Rossies at Pearse Stadium next Sunday.

“There’s no easy games,” said McHugh.

“They were All-Ireland finalists last year, there is nothing easy in this division but this is where you want to be, you want to be at the top table playing the best teams. Tyrone, we knew they were one of the best teams in the country, Roscommon hadn’t beaten them in 20 years so this is a good lift for us in terms of what we’re trying to do but we need to get back at it (training) this week.”

Roscommon had led by five points at one stage in the first half but, after Tyrone produced an eight-point swing in the game, they trailed by three. A slip and a fumble denied Darren McCurry a gilt-edged goal chance that would probably have settled the issue and Roscommon made the most of their slice of luck.

“Tyrone are a top side and we would have liked to have been four or five ahead at half-time,” said manager Davy Burke.

“We could have been more than it was and there were a couple of harmless enough frees as well but we were happy enough going in.

“It was brilliant to score the three goals and to see the resilience and the heart in the lads. The workrate and the tackling was brilliant to see and we were never beaten. There was a massive crowd here supporting us and I got a huge buzz of it so I hope everyone else did as well.”

GAA Football