Commonwealth Games: Martin McHugh is eager to launch a bid for the gold
Martin McHugh admits he is relishing the prospect of leading the Northern Ireland bowls challenge at the Commonwealth Games. The big Whitehead man has already struck gold at this level, being part of the side that won the fours in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Even though Gary Kelly lifted bronze in the singles in New Delhi four years ago – defeating England's Sam Tolchard for the honour – McHugh now carries Northern Ireland hopes in the blue riband event.
He will attempt to become the first local player to hoist the prize since Jeremy Henry's extraordinary feat in Manchester 2002.
"I'm really up for the challenge," said the former Irish and British Isles singles title holder. "Obviously, the pressure is on.
"But we have prepared well and it's now down to the real thing. I have a Commonwealth gold medal and also a bronze in the triples from the 2000 World Championships in Johannesburg. But a singles medal would top the lot."
McHugh is part of an experienced five-man men's squad that includes Ian McClure, Paul Daly, Neil Mulholland and Neil Booth, who brings the curtain down on a fantastic international career at the conclusion of these games.
"Apart from Neil, the new member of the group, everyone else has won medals at either the Commonwealth Games or the World Championships," added McHugh.
"It's a tried and trusted squad. We are all raring to go."
Northern Ireland team: Men Singles: Martin McHugh. Pairs: McHugh, Ian McClure. Triples: Paul Daly, Neil Mulholland, Neil Booth. Fours: Daly, Mulholland, McClure, Booth.Women's : Singles: Catherine McMillen. Pairs: McMillen, Mandy Cunningham. Triples: Donna McCloy, Barbara Cameron, Jennifer Dowds. Fours: Cunningham, McCloy, Cameron, Dowds.