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Ryan McHugh looking to Allianz Football League to get Donegal back to winning ways

Allianz Football League.

Ryan McHugh has got his eyes on the prize as Donegal embark on their 2022 Allianz Football League campaign this weekend.

On Sunday, the Ulster county will face a strong test in last year’s All-Ireland runners-up Mayo and McHugh sees the league as the perfect opportunity to get some silverware back up to Donegal.

Donegal haven’t won the top tier prize since their one and only success in 2007 and haven’t tasted success in the Ulster Football Championship since sealing back-to-back Anglo-Celt Cups in 2019.

Speaking at the launch of the 2022 Allianz Football League on Wednesday, Letterkenny native McHugh said that this year is the time to put that right.

Ryan McHugh: “We always believe.”

“We believe every year,” he said. “Since I came on board in 2013, I’ve thought we’ve had a massive chance of winning every competition we enter.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to get a couple of Ulster Championships under my belt and it’s always a special feeling taking a trophy back to Donegal town.”

At the age of 27, McHugh now sees himself as one of the elder statesmen of the Donegal panel and it’s a role he’s relishing heading into the 2022 season.

“We have huge talent, both and senior level and at underage level, where there has been great work done with the academy. We’ve got a lovely mix of youth and experience, I’m getting a bit older, as are the likes of Jamie Brennan and Oisin Gallen,” he added.

This season marks the 30th edition of the Allianz Football Leagues and it’s a partnership that Allianz Ireland CEO Sean McGrath takes great pride in.

The Allianz Football League was officially launched today. This is the 30th season that Allianz has sponsored the competition, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sport. Pictured at the launch in Kilcar GAA Club is Donegal footballer Ryan McHugh and his father and former Donegal footballer Martin McHugh who played in the first year of the Allianz sponsorship.

30th edition of Allianz Football League.

“It is a huge source of pride that we enter into our 30th year as sponsor of the Allianz Leagues,” he said at Wednesday’s launch. “As a longstanding partner of the GAA we have taken immense pride in witnessing the growth of this competition in terms of profile, status, and quality.

Such is the public appetite for Gaelic Games that we now enjoy extensive coverage of the Allianz Leagues and as we return to our traditional position in the GAA calendar and the return of crowds, we can all look forward to another enthralling campaign and some of the most competitive matches of the year. Best wishes to the management, players and fans who make this great competition what it is.”

This weekend’s opening Allianz League fixtures are as follows:

SATURDAY

Division 1: Dublin v Armagh, Croke Park, 7.0

Division 2: Derry v Down, Owenbeg, 5.0

Division 3: Limerick v Longford, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 5.0; Fermanagh v Antrim, Brewster Park, 7.0

Division 4: Carlow v London, Netwatch Cullen Park, 7.0

SUNDAY

Division 1: Kildare v Kerry, Newbridge, 1.45; Mayo v Donegal, Markievicz Park, 1.45; Tyrone v Monaghan, Omagh, 3.45

Division 2: Clare v Offaly, Ennis, 2.0; Galway v Meath, Pearse Stadium, 2.0; Roscommon v Cork, Dr.Hyde Park, 2.0.

Division 3: Louth v Laois, Ardee, 2.0; Westmeath v Wicklow TEG Cusack Park, 2.0

Division 4: Leitrim v Cavan, Avant Money Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 2.0; Waterford v Tipperary, Dungarvan, 2.0; Wexford v Sligo, Chadwicks Wexford Park ,2.0