Hughes urging St Patrick's to prove their quality in Hogan semis
Six days after landing their 15th MacRory Cup title, St Patrick's Maghera face Sligo's Summerhill in the Hogan Cup semi-final (today, Brewster Park, throw-in 2pm).
Manager Paul Hughes admits that he is going in blind, insisting that taking care of matters in Ulster took everything they had before they could look further afield.
"Generally, we wouldn't have been aware what way the Hogan semi-finals would have been falling," the Derrytresk man explained.
"We just took the games as they were coming to us because, in Ulster, we knew there were four or five teams capable of going on to win the MacRory, and we just hoped we could keep ourselves in the mix."
The two met in a challenge match in January, with St Pat's coming out on the right side of a narrow victory, although Hughes added that both sides were understrength and the Summerhill players were still trying to shake the journey to Owenbeg from their legs.
The Sligo town side won their first Connacht senior title in 31 years earlier this month, beating fellow county men St Attracta's of Tubbercurry 1-12 to 0-13. Their undoubted dangerman is Kyle Cawley, who is on the Sligo Under-21 and senior squads.
"They are going to have a big, big support," added Hughes.
"It's a window for everybody else in the perceived small county to say, 'hey look, we can compete at this level, we have players who can do this'.
"They will have seen how Roscommon CBS came through last year and went to the Hogan final.
"They will look at the six-day turnaround and say, 'here is an opportunity'.
"It's up to our boys to counter that and ensure we control the game."