IT UNDERLINES the remarkable rise to prominence Darren Hughes has enjoyed in recent times that he wasn’t even on the Ulster squad back in 2009.
In the meantime, he has gone on to be named as captain of the Monaghan senior side, and played a starring role for Ireland in their victories over Australia last autumn.
However, the Scotstown defender still admits it was a shock when he got the phone call from Joe Kernan to ask him to captain Ulster this weekend.
“I was hoping for the phone call to be selected for the squad. Then you’re looking around the other Ulster teams and the great defenders who are out there, and you’re thinking ‘well he can only play six defenders,’ so you’d probably settle for a place in the squad never mind on the team.
“It was certainly a nice surprise when Joe rang last week to say that he would be announcing me as captain. I gratefully accepted, it’s a great honour.
“Our squad contains a wealth of boys with inter-county, inter-provincial and indeed international experience, so I’ll certainly not be on my own in leading the team.”
If you would like to read the full story, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life – published February 16 – online or in your local newsagent