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Kevin McHugh On Horrific Training Ground Accident: ‘All I Could Hear Was My Heart Pumping’

FAI Ford Cup Semi-Final, Richmond Park, Dublin 5/10/2014 St Patrick’s Athletic vs Finn Harps Pats' Sean Hoare and Kevin McHugh of Finn Harps Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kevin McHugh started his League of Ireland career in 1998, making his debut for Finn Harps against local side Fanad United. Since then, he has gone on to score over 170 goals for the Donegal club and has carved out a reputation as a cult hero in Ballybofey.

However, with just three weeks left in the season, his long career came to a swift end when an accident in training forced him to hang up his boots earlier than anticipated. While training an underage Harps team, McHugh went to retrieve a wayward ball that went over a fence. As he climbed the wire, his wedding ring got caught and his finger detached.

McHugh drove himself to hospital after the incident, but, unfortunately, the damage had been done and there was nothing the medical staff could do.

Social media played a large part in his journey, with the Donegal man live tweeting the event.

He told Pundit Arena’s Enda Coll that this was his way of coping.

“I was in the car and I was trying to explain to my wife that it wasn’t serious, but it was serious enough for her to leave work and she couldn’t really understand what I was talking about,” McHugh said.

“And then when I got to the hospital, just to keep my mind off things I was online and on Twitter and I just posted it.

“Obviously I didn’t expect it to take off the way that it did though.”

Despite being able to drive himself to the hospital, McHugh admitted that once the adrenaline of the situation had worn off he felt the full force of the pain.

“I’d like to say adrenaline [helped] for maybe the first minute or two, but when I was in the car, even before I got into the car, I could feel the pain kicking in.

“All I could hear was my heart pumping and the pain kicking in at this stage, and you don’t know if it’s going to get worse or better. I think that’s when the panic kicks in, when you think how far the pain is going to go and can you cope with it.”

“Thankfully I was able to cope with it and get to the hospital.”

Having made over 200 appearances for Finn Harps, his career was over in an instant, but McHugh, despite being disappointed, said that he was happy to have gotten this far in his career without any major injuries.

“Look, I was retiring in three weeks anyway. To me, I’ve been very lucky to get this far without many major injuries so I can be thankful for that.

“I could have said goodbye to the club and the fans in a better way, but everything doesn’t work out the way you want it to sometimes and you have to move on with it.”

McHugh now sits fifth in the all-time League of Ireland goalscoring charts with 174 goals – an achievement that he said he wouldn’t have believed he could achieve back in 1998.

“You don’t know what’s ahead of you, which is a good thing in many ways. All I can say is I put my head down and worked hard and thankfully I got my reward.”

Listen to the full interview below.

Enda Coll, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.