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Versatile Hughes all set for his biggest test

Former UUJ student Darren Hughes is preparing to face up to one of the biggest challenges of his sporting career.

The 23-year-old Scotstown clubman will captain Monaghan in the Power NI McKenna Cup and the leadership qualities which he displayed in the Jordanstown team's colours are expected to serve him well in his new role.

Hughes was a member of the Ireland squad that won the International Rules series in Australia having made a big impact with Monaghan over the past year.

Yet while manager Eamon McEnaney views Hughes as one of his most prized assets he is confronted by a dilemma, according to county secretary Sean McKenna.

"Darren is such a versatile player that Eamon's quandary will be just where to position him on the team. He is at home in four or five positions and has never been known to play a bad game for Monaghan," states McKenna.

Last year Hughes found himself pitched into the headlines when then Monaghan boss Seamus McEnanay named him as goalkeeper to face Armagh at Casement Park in the Ulster championship quarter-final.

Monaghan won the match handsomely meaning that McEnaney's bold gamble was justified.

"It was certainly an eye-opener," recalls secretary McKenna, "Darren can play at full-back, centre-half-back midfield or at centrethreequarters. He is exceptionally talented and is a driving force whether at university, club or county level. We are very fortunate indeed to have him."

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