Kieran Hughes Q&A
Kieran Hughes tells us why he would rather play for Jurgen Klopp over
Alex Ferguson.What's abysmal about Conor McManus, and who wears the
Inspector Gadget jacket in the Monaghan camp.The Scotstown man reveals
all in our Q&A.
Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
Philip Jordan. I was only coming into the Monaghan panel several years ago and I remember coming up against him an Ulster final and he bullied me. It was a lifelong lesson.
Team you most like to beat?
Our local rivals, Truagh.
It was in a club jersey with Scotstown, reaching an Ulster club final. We beat Slaughtneil and Trillick on the way and just to see the supporters on the field afterwards, I’ve never seen them as happy.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My parents and my brother, Darren. We’re not really a footballing family, because daddy is a farmer and mammy is your average housewife, so I don’t know where it came out of. But from a young age, we picked it up out of nowhere.
From any era, if you could transfer any one player to your county —
who and why?
The Gooch or one of the O Ses: Darragh, Tomas or Marc. They played the game in the right manner. A joy to watch.
Have you seen any tactical developments in recent seasons — what's caught your eye?
The ability to break and attack on teams is massive. You see the likes of Dublin now who always have three or four runners.
What’s the best score you’ve ever seen in real life, any sport?
Ciaran McDonald out on the left at Croker against Dublin in 2006. I remember watching it as a young cub and me being a left footer, I would always have liked it. I’d look up to him.
What has been your biggest disappointment of your career?
Losing three All-Ireland quarter-finals in a row. It’s tough to get over the line. Hoping to achieve that some day.
Which player has impressed you this year so far, from any team?
My own man, Conor McCarthy. He got a bad injury in America last year, a fractured kneecap, and he’s flying now with the club too. I’d nearly run out the gate and throw money in the tin box myself to watch him.
Who has given your team the most memorable motivational speech ever — from inside or outside the camp?
Vinny Corey. He’s just the most complete and honest player, he’ll do anything for the team. When he speaks, you listen.
What's the toughest training camp you have ever done?
The first year, we went to Portugal with Monaghan. We didn’t realise it would be so vigorous. It was just conditioned games and running the length of the field after, and trying to get back into another conditioned game. Just hell.
Who is the joker on the panel?
Dermot Malone. Always looking around for mischief and when gear goes missing, he’s the first man you go looking for. He’s probably got loads of stuff at the house and he’s off selling it on Done Deal or eBay.
Who is the best trainer?
Fintan Kelly. He had a tough few years not starting and he got his head down and gave the managers no other choice.
Who is the best dressed?
Tommy Kerr, he comes in like Inspector Gadget most days with a long jacket down to his toes. Suits him, which I don’t like to admit.
Who is the worst dressed?
Conor McManus. He said that about me before and I couldn’t believe it, but he is abysmal. He gets free clothes which keep him going some bit but anything he buys is dreadful.
Which player loves the media attention?
Who is the ladies' man of the panel?
Ryan Wylie. Winner winner chicken dinner there. I can’t keep up to date with what girls he’s with. He goes about his business quietly but we know what he’s at.
What player from another sport do you most admire?
Novak Djokovic. I’d follow him closely, his speed and flexibility is something I admire. How he gets across the court. In his prime, he was some operator. Cristiano Ronaldo too, I am a massive Manchester United fan. He has himself in some shape.
What manager from another sport do you admire?
Jurgen Klopp. I’m a Man United fan but I don’t think I’d have liked playing under Alex Ferguson because he’s old school. I think Klopp would be more of a players’ man.
If you could manage any team in any sport, who would it be?
Manchester United. Growing up I was a mad keen supporter. I’d like to get them back to the glory where we belong.
If you were to be a professional sportsman, what sport would you love to play?
Any sport that’s individualised so you can’t blame anyone else. Golf or tennis maybe. After a loss in Gaelic football you look for an excuse elsewhere. But as an individual, it’s all down to yourself so you need to pinpoint where you can improve.