Mark McHugh excited by Stephen Rochford's addition to Donegal set-up
Mark McHugh has revealed that Stephen Rochford's appointment as coach in the Donegal set-up has been given the All-Star seal of approval by Galway ace Ian Burke.
Burke played under Rochford when he guided Corofin to an All-Ireland club title in 2015 and McHugh revealed the Galway star gave the Mayo native's coaching credentials a resounding endorsement.
"It was a surprise move, but it's exciting enough for the Donegal players to get somebody new and somebody who's respected that much within the Gaelic community," said McHugh, who was speaking at the launch of Trócaire's 'Gifts of Love' Christmas campaign. "I was chatting to Ian Burke, who won an All-Star - he'd be Corofin and he (Rochford) led Corofin to an All-Ireland, so they have a lot of time for him.
"That's exciting when you see people like that speaking so highly of him, so it can only be a good thing for us and you look forward to working with him and seeing what different mentality or different things he brings to the football field.
"I'm not saying it's a great thing all the time, but when you get that different voice in the changing room - no matter whether it's club or county - it's good and it refreshes things and it gives people another wee bit of lease of life. It's only good for Donegal and hopefully he can bring something different and take us to an extra level."
McHugh was one of a luckless trio from Kilcar to finish their year on the treatment table. Paddy McBrearty's knee injury mid championship was a significant blow to Donegal's hopes. Then Mark's brother Ryan was forced to sit out the rest of the season after picking up a concussion, while Mark followed his brother to the sidelines after getting a shoulder injury in a quarter-final loss to Naomh Conaill.
"It's a funny one. In everything in life you need a wee bit of luck and especially in sport… Last year we won the county championship and all year long we were lucky with no injuries and then this year just everything went from bad to worse - Paddy obviously did the cruciate and then Ryan got a bang that put him out and we were only 10 or 12 minutes into the game and I got a bang."
McBrearty's recovery is ongoing but Ryan is targeting a comeback for the start of the league and Mark is on a similar time-scale.
"It's coming on all right. The lucky thing about it is there's nothing to rush back for. It's all about building it back up over the winter and trying to go back into contact in late December or early January. It's handy this time of year where you can rest up a wee bit instead of rushing back for another match or something like that."