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Donegal's Ryan McHugh responds to heavy criticism of low-scoring county final

Kilcar won their first senior title since 1993 recently.

Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

DONEGAL FOOTBALLER RYAN McHugh has responded to the criticism of the 2017 Donegal SFC final, saying that the reaction was ‘a bit over exaggerated.’

Kilcar captured their first senior county title in 24 years earlier this month, following a 0-07 0-04 victory over Naomh Conaill.

The former were four points up at half-time, but scored just a solitary point after the break as they managed to hold on for the win.

There were scenes of elation from the Kilcar contingent at the final whistle, but the low-scoring encounter attracted a lot of criticism.

The Irish News quotes former Donegal star Manus Boyle as claiming that the game “is dying in front of us” based on what he saw in the county final.

Responding to those comments on Newstalk’s Off The Ball this evening, McHugh said:

“I think we’re getting used to that in Donegal at the minute, being branded like that,” he told presenter Nathan Murphy.

“I think it (the reaction) was a wee bit over exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a great spectacle and don’t get me wrong, you’d like to go out every day and play football and perform the best you can and win with the most fashion you can.

“But I’m afraid football doesn’t work like that all the time. I said during the week that two clubs — Kilcar and Naomh Conaill played each other last year and the scoreline finished 5-10 to 1-11.

“The year before that we played each other as well and Naomh Conaill hammered us so we normally produce big high-scoring games and I think people read into the final too much.

“I think people were expecting such a good match and they got a bit disappointed I suppose. We’re known as two attacking teams but I think it was read into it a wee bit. There was a lot of pressure on both (sets of) players, and a lot of nerves as well which just added to the occasion.”

Kilcar will now progress into the Ulster championship, where they will face Monaghan side Scotstown in the quarter-final this weekend in Clones.

Listen to the full discussion on the Newstalk website here.

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