Donegal need ‘ultimate performance’, says Ryan McHugh

Ryan McHugh believes Donegal will need to give “the ultimate performance” to beat Mayo in Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.

The seven-day turnaround is not too much of a concern for McHugh but he needs no reminding of what Mayo did to them at the same stage two years ago.

“In 2013, Mayo gave us a lesson in how to play football. We’re not really a team to look back. We’re all about the future and we’ll sit down this week with Rory (Gallagher) and his backroom team and assess this game.

“It was definitely one of my worst days in a Donegal jersey. We like to concentrate more on ourselves and what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right to get the ultimate performance which will be needed to win.”

McHugh hasn’t seen much of Mayo but for highlights of their Connacht semi-final win over Galway. But he’s heard all about Aidan O’Shea’s sensational form. “He’s flying. He’s definitely up there as one of the top two or three players in Ireland. He’s top class and there are plenty of men around him up there in attack who are good players. We know we’re going to be up against it but all we can do is our best.”

Donegal go into the game more battle-hardened than Mayo but McHugh isn’t so sure that will count for much. “We wouldn’t really think about that. We would just take it game by game. The draw is the draw at the start of the year and that is the luck of it. That’s the way it is unless they change it which doesn’t look like happening any time soon. We make no excuses for the draw, we don’t look for excuses for why we lost the Ulster final.”

The Kilcar man knows Donegal have yet to give a full 70-minute display. While their second halves have been strong, they have been slack in the first periods against Monaghan and Galway.

“The first half (v Galway), we needed to put a few things right. If we play like that against Mayo it will be a different story at half-time. We’re going to have to try and put that right and hopefully we can produce a performance.

“In the Ulster championship bar the first half against Monaghan and wee spells in the Derry match I thought we played alright throughout. If you don’t put in the performance for the full 70 minutes as proven against Monaghan then you’re going to lose games. The next day against Mayo, we will have to play for the full 70 or we won’t get over the line.”

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