by Orla Bannon
Scotstown captain Darren Hughes faces the prospect of coming up against not one, not two, but three brothers-in-law in Sunday's AIB Ulster club SFC semi-final.
The four-in-a-row Monaghan winners take on Derry champions Eoghan Rua in Omagh, a curious fixture across a few households in both communities with Hughes' wife Orlagh a native of the Coleraine parish.
“My two brother-in-laws, Barry and Paul Daly, are playing and there's three of them in the panel, Eoin's in the panel too,” says Hughes.
“There's a few Whatsapp groups that have to be avoided and sure the build-up will be interesting, but here, we won't be the first brothers-in-law to play against each other.
“I'm sure when the ball's thrown in no-one will be thinking about it. There's an Ulster final place at stake and that's all anyone will be focusing on.”
Coleraine's quarter-final replay win over four-in-a-row Derry champions Slaughtneil was a shock result to most people not in the know.
But for those who were clued in, like Hughes, it seemed like a second senior title to add to their sole success in 2010 was a growing inevitability.
“They're a good team, well drilled.
“I wasn't surprised at all that they beat Slaughtneil. They have quality all over the field.
“I would be pretty friendly with a lot of them over the years and I know they will be very strong opponents for us.”
Scotstown are the four-in-a-row Monaghan champions but they have disappointed in Ulster, apart from 2015 when they lost to Crossmaglen Rangers.
Back-to-back first round exits have followed but wins over Derrygonnelly (Fermanagh) and Burren (Down) have encouraged Hughes, and when he casts a glance across the landscape, the race for an Ulster title is wide open.
“We've been in Ulster this last few years and probably haven't done ourselves justice, we've taken a couple of trimmings.
“It's just about that level of performance and maximising it every day you go out and it's all about getting that first win under the belt. It stands to you.
“We have the momentum going now but three other teams will feel the same.
“We do have a lot of young boys in this team and that experience will stand to them. We're in the semi-final and it's anyone's game at this stage.”
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