Nudie Hughes

Eugene ‘Nudie’ Hughes is one of Monaghan’s greatest all-time sporting heroes of GAA. He is still regarded today as a tremendous footballer who showed no fear on the pitch. Born into a family of 14 in Castleblayney, Nudie’s objective was to be as good a player as his childhood heroes. He became hooked on the sport at school and centre half-back was his preferred position in those days. After leaving school at 14 years of age he worked with his brother Patsy in Clones and he had to run up to five miles in the morning to get to work.

Later he went to England and to Philadelphia and for him football was always number one. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a toughness in the game and all the training was on the football field rather than in the gym according to Nudie. For Nudie football was everything as he waited his turn to wear the jersey at a higher level.

By 1975 he made his breakthrough at Minor level and he often found training sessions harder than matches. He trained morning and evening and his most memorable match was helping Castleblayney win the Minor Championship.

He recalls the tremendous celebrations when the Ulster Club Championship was won in 1986 and 1990. There was tremendous county euphoria when the county won Ulster titles in 1979, 1985 and 1988 – these victories were some of the highlights of his career. As a result of these wins there were hundreds at training and Monaghan people were ‘up-lifted’ according to Nudie.

On three occasions Nudie was named as an All-Star and he regards those awards as ‘fantastic achievements’, and it means an awful lot to him. To be rated on the same level as other great Monaghan players is ‘phenomenal’ for Nudie and he is regarded by many today as a shining example of the true spirit of the game. Nudie was probably not a prolific scorer and in his early days he suffered a lot of injuries. However he still remains a household name in Monaghan as a tremendous footballer who showed little fear on the pitch and who can be categorised as a GAA legend.