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Donegal's Ryan McHugh in pursuit of glory on two fronts

By John Campbell

Ryan McHugh, the 2014 Young Player of the Year, is poised to participate in what he feels are three "massive matches" within a 10-day period.

The 20-year-old Kilcar clubman will line out with Sligo Institute of Technology in an important Sigerson Cup tie against Queen's in Belfast next Wednesday and then three days later he will be in the vanguard of the Donegal side which will set Division One of the Allianz League in motion with a mouth-watering clash against Derry.

And McHugh relishes even more the fact that a week later Donegal will head to Croke Park to confront Dublin in a league assignment which will have all the trappings of a championship engagement given that Jim Gavin's side will be seeking revenge for their All-Ireland semi-final defeat last August.

With his county's opening two games set to be screened live by Setanta Sports and Donegal anxious to make a good start under their new manager Rory Gallagher, McHugh predicts that February will be a crucial month for teams at different levels.

"While there will be a strong focus on the start of the league, I think that the start of the Sigerson Cup is always a special time and I'm very much focused on playing against Queen's," states McHugh.

"But obviously Ulster will be in the spotlight from the start of the league as our game and the Monaghan v Tyrone match, also on Saturday week, are being televised by Setanta.

"With the All-Ireland club semi-finals at different levels scheduled for February as well as the start of the Allianz Hurling League, it is always an exceptionally busy month but from our perspective we have to make sure we hit the ground running."

And McHugh bucks the trend established by numerous pundits who feel that the January competitions should be discontinued.

"I am very much in favour of the McKenna Cup," insists McHugh.

"It's great for introducing players to inter-county football and has taken on a whole new dimension since university sides were brought into it a few years ago."

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