Swansea City comprehensively defeated Bradford City in the Sunday’s Capital One League Cup final but defender Carl McHugh believes rubbing shoulders with Premier League sides can only help his development in the football world.
McHugh, from Lettermacaward, was part of the League Two side in their 5-0 loss against the side managed Michael Laudrup on Sunday.
However, it was still a momentous day out for Bradford’s, and indeed Swansea’s supporters in the novel pairing. Both created a marvellous atmosphere in London.
“Playing at Wembley takes a lot out of you emotionally and physically and we will have to get ourselves right in the next few days,” McHugh said of Sunday.
“ I wanted to win the cup as much as anyone and I’m really disappointed. The cup run has been a massive event for us and we have to take the positives out of this and move forward.
“We can’t dwell on this too long. From now on, the next game is the most important. We can’t be ashamed and we can walk out of here with our heads held up.
“Swansea were too strong for us and they took their chances when they had them. We needed a bit of lick to do anything and it didn’t pan out well for us. But it’s been a great season for us so far.
The 20-year-old was cheered on but no less than 114 family and friends, many of them coming from the banks of the Gweebarra with the delegation led by his mother and father, Mary and Gerry.
“It was great for my family and friends to come over and see me playing at Wembley,” McHugh continued. “I’m sure they enjoyed the day despite the result. I’m sure they will be proud of me.”
Bradford’s run to Wembley meant they were the first fourth flight team to reach the final of the league cup since Rochdale some 41 years beforehand.
And although the pain of their defeat to Swansea was still to be felt in McHugh’s words, the former Reading academy member was part of some unbelievable occasions. Over the course of the competition, the Yorkshire club ousted Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
Last summer, having been released by Reading, McHugh found himself clubless before making the most of his opportunity under Phil Parkinson to earn a contract and even earning a first U-21 Ireland cap against Holland in Tallaght this month.
“It will stick with my family for the rest of their life,” McHugh said.
“I’ve learned so much this year by playing against those teams as well as playing at Wembley. It will only help me improve as a player. I’ve played five games against Premier League teams so the experience I’ve got from that will help me in my career.”
Bradford, who have slipped from fourth to 11th place in League Two while trying to juggle their cup commitments return to their bread and butter as Dagenham and Redbridge visit Valley Parade tonight.