Finn Harps striker Kevin McHugh has explained how a gruesome finger injury suffered last Thursday came to pass, and revealed that he will not play competitive football again.
The 36-year-old Letterkenny man lost a finger during a training ground accident last week, tweeting an extremely graphic image of his fingerless hand. Before we go any further, rather than once more include a picture of what is frankly one of the most horrible footballing injuries we've seen, you can instead follow us over here to take a peak (but do brace yourself - it's fecking gross).
Speaking on BBC Radio Foyle, McHugh revealed the extremely innocuous nature of the incident, which occurred while McHugh was training children at the Donegal Soccer Academy. He also told BBC's Barry Whyte of the ghostly reactions from his fellow Harps men, who watched on as McHugh hopped the fence but left his finger behind him:
We have to jump these gates to get another set of goals out if we need them. I jumped the gate last week and the week before, and unfortunately this week the ring got caught in the top of the gate and the rest they say is history.
Once my two feet landed on the ground it felt like the ring...like there was a tug on it or something. Or [I thought], did I catch it in something? And once I looked down at my hand, and there was no finger there, I was like, 'Christ'. And I looked at the two boys, Des McGlynchey and BJ Banda, I looked at the two of those through the fence, and they were sheet white and they were in shock. I knew it was bad so I had to hop back over the fence and had to bring BJ around, believe it or not, because I needed him to coach the kids.
McHugh went on to explain the pain he was in, telling Whyte that he was more concerned about his children seeing him in such a condition. The former Derry City man went on to reveal the near-slapstick nature of his journey to the hospital, and the role of one of his fellow coaches:
The first thought was I couldn't let me own kids see my hand like this. I knew I might pass out in front of my own kids, so I knew I had to get to the car and get to the hospital as quick as I could.
When I was in the car it was pretty bad, hai. I could feel my heart kind of pumping through my chest but I still had to make a phonecall to Mel, the other coach, because I realised I hadn't got the finger with me. I knew I would need it for hospital. I says to him, 'Can you do me a favour'? And he goes, 'What'? Because he didn't see how bad it was at the time. And I says, 'Could you go back up and get me finger on top of the fence'? And he went, 'Are you serious'? And I says, 'I am - I'm very serious. I need you to do it. I need you to settle yourself and go and get it'. And he did - he brought it back up. He followed me to the hospital with the finger.
McHugh now believes it impossible that he plays competitive football again, claiming he intended to retire at the end of this season even prior to the accident.
That's probably a psychological hurdles, as they say, that I'll have to get over in the next while. I was planning on hanging up the boots anyway, you know? It's not the way I'd planned, to kind of say goodbye, but that's the way it is, you know?
The Donegal sporting legend retires aged 36 with 176 League of Ireland goals, making him the fifth-highest scorer in LOI history.
You can listen to the full interview with McHugh below:
[BBC Radio Foyle]