Donegal’s Mark McHugh was delighted with his side’s All-Ireland final victory this afternoon, but the magnitude of the occasion could spell trouble for any prospective wife of the Kilcar clubman.
McHugh admitted he was very emotional in the wake of the final whistle, and told RTÉ’s Pauric Lodge that it was the best day of his life, so far.
“The woman I’m going to have to marry is going to have to be very, very good to top this day off for me,” the 22-year-old quipped.
McHugh followed in the footsteps of his father Martin, who was an integral part of the first Donegal side to win the Sam Maguire in 1992 and the two shared a special moment after the game.
“When the game was over I went over and I saw him. He was on the BBC and I gave him the biggest hug,” McHugh junior said.
“He was in tears himself and he was saying how proud he was. It made me cry myself. It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for Kilcar having me and Patrick (McBrearty) on the team, and it’s a great day, as I said, for Donegal.”
The half-forward admitted that Donegal lacked the necessary belief to succeed in 2011, but added that their manager had instilled it in them in the intervening period.
“Last year, I don’t think we did believe that (we could win the All-Ireland). But this year after getting beat by Dublin last year we had that sense of belief about us and that was all down to Jim McGuinness.
“We started the year off again with our goal of winning Ulster and we did that. We pushed on, as Jim always speaks about the first Championship and then the second Championship.
“In the second Championship we had Kerry, Cork and Mayo. Listen, we did well to beat them and we’re deserving All-Ireland champions, I think.”
Donegal went to 2-01 to 0-00 ahead early on, but Mayo worked their way back into the game to only trail by three points at the break.
“We got a good start with the two goals,” McHugh said.
“We kind of let them come on to us a wee bit more. We shouldn’t have let that happen. But we kind of regrouped a wee bit at half time and got the first two scores of the second half and it kind of got us going again and we held on to the lead then at the end.”
There was huge anticipation in Donegal ahead of the game, and McHugh said the team intends to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
“It’s just amazing. We were doing that lap of honour there and you’re just so proud. Your heart’s telling you you’re ready to go to tears just looking at the smiles on everybody’s faces.
“It’s a great day for Donegal. We’re going to enjoy it.”