Ryan McHugh (born 11 April 1994 in Letterkenny) is an Irish Gaelic footballer who plays with his local club Chíll Chartha and the Donegal senior inter-county team. A former county minor, McHugh propelled himself onto the national stage with a 2-02 blitz of All-Ireland champions Dublin in the semi-final meeting at Croke Park.
McHugh has been likened to a child of school-going age - "You'd think he had just stepped off a school bus", GAA pundit Benny Tierney once said. His manager Jim McGuinness has suggested: "Even when the big hits are going in, Ryan has the ability to summon that little shimmy that helps to take him past defenders and allows him to set up colleagues."
McHugh is the son of Martin, the BBC television analyst and 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winner. His son Mark, Ryan's older brother, is also an All-Ireland winner with the Donegal senior team. Ryan McHugh's uncle James also played in the 1992 All Ireland Final and received an All Star in 1992. His cousin Eoin is James's son.
With his club Chíll Chartha, McHugh won the 2010 and 2012 Donegal Minor Football Championships.
He won an All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championship and captained the 2012 Donegal minor football team. He also played in the under-21 team that lost to Cavan in the 2013 Ulster final, though had been troubled by a calf injury beforehand. Jim McGuinness drafted him into his senior squad ahead of the 2013 season, with Donegal the defending All-Ireland champions. Colm Keys of the Irish Independent named him as the third of his "ten young guns aiming to fire in the league" ahead of the 2013 National Football League.
McHugh made his senior competitive debut in a home game against Down in the 2013 National Football League on 9 February 2013. He made his senior championship debut against Down as well later that year in June. Photographs of him appeared in the media the following day.
He played on the under-21 team that lost to Cavan in the 2014 Ulster final. He propelled himself onto the national stage with a 2-02 blitz of All-Ireland champions Dublin in the 2014 semi-final meeting at Croke Park on 31 August. Man of the match in that game, McHugh described himself as "fortunate" to have scored his two goals.
In October 2014, McHugh was named as the All Stars Young Footballer of the Year for 2014.
He scored yet another Championship goal at Croke Park against reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin in 2016, though Dublin emerged with a five-point win on that occasion.Senior
1 Ulster Senior Football Championship (2014)
1 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Man of the Match (2014, semi-final v. Dublin)
2 Donegal Minor Football Championships (2010, 2012)
1 All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championship (?)
All Stars Young Footballer of the Year: 2014
GAA/GPA ALL-STAR: 2016