Ryan McHugh not surprised at Donegal display

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Ryan McHugh not surprised at Donegal display

Ryan McHugh drove a late stake through the heart of his native county with a typical flicked goal in the 71st minute to seal a superbly entertaining affair in Sean MacCumhaill Park, writes Gerry McLaughlin..

The UUJ maestro was set up by impressive substitute, Frank Burns, after plucky Donegal U-21’s lost possession near the sideline in a match they should have won.

But once again the Kilcar star upped his game in those final frenetic minutes and helped his side over the line.

“It was a tough second half and Donegal have a very good young side and to be fair to them, they have a lot of good young players and from my own point of view it is good to see in the county.

“Any day you put on a jersey, whether it is Kilcar, Donegal or Jordanstown, you have to be professional and it was not easy on Paddy McBrearty, Lorcan Connor or John Fitzgerald playing against your own county.

“But this was a different test and you have to be professional and from a Jordanstown point of view I thought we did well out there today and we were just happy to get over the line”.

But, unlike many pundits, McHugh was not in the least surprised that Declan Bonner’s U-21’s put up a real challenge to an admittedly weakened UUJ.

“I was at the Sligo match where they lost but they had a completely different team out there today.

“I have been training with most of them throughout the year and they are really good players and they are pushing us on in the seniors.

“They are a good side and Donegal is going to have a very good U-21 side this year.

“From a county point of view it is great and I knew coming up here today that it was going to be a tight battle.

“We were missing a few UUJ lads who are away with county teams so we it was a good battle between two well matched team.

“And the spectators certainly got to see a very good game of football”.

And Donegal U-21s has a fair amount of much welcomed physical power.

“A lot of them are doing gym and are brutes of men. Michael Carroll at midfield you would do well do get as big a senior midfield let alone an U-21 so it is great to see that.

“We don’t breed the biggest men in Donegal so thankfully there are a few coming through now.

“It is not easy for 18-20 year-olds to break into a senior team but I have to say that these boys are really pushing the rest of us on at training.

“The Kerry game is just around the corner and places are up for grabs and these U-21s are not just there to make up the numbers.

“On that basis out there today, they are going to be well fit for their place.

“It is not a bad idea to play U-21s, Jim did it in 2013, and Mayo Dublin and Kerry are doing is so that was a great experience for them out there today.

“Most of that Jordanstown team is inter county players so that was a great experience for the Donegal U-21s”