FC Goa have completed their foreign quota of signings for the ongoing season after having secured the services of Irish star Carl McHugh, the Club can officially confirm. The 30-year-old has put pen-to-paper on a two-year contract with the Gaurs, which will see him wear their iconic orange beyond the 2023-24 season.
A two-time winner of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), McHugh brings with him a wealth of experience in Indian football, thereby sustaining the pattern that the Club has followed of late in terms of new signings.
The former ATK and Mohun Bagan Super Giant footballer is the tenth new addition to the Club this summer, following hot on the heels of Rowllin Borges, Udanta Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Boris Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Paulo Retre, Carlos Martinez, Odei Onaindia and Victor Rodriguez.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to represent this Club and I will be doing everything in my power to help make it successful,” Carl McHugh said, after signing on the dotted line for FC Goa.
“When I became aware of FC Goa’s interest, it was something I was immediately interested in as well. I think the Club has made some very good signings, and obviously the appointment of coach Manolo Marquez was important.
“I’ve played against FC Goa a lot in recent years and it has always been a very difficult fixture. Fatorda is always a tough venue to come and get a result as an opposition player – it will be great to play there for FC Goa now,” he further added.
Ravi Puskur, the Club’s Director of Football, also expressed his elation on the latest acquisition, saying, “Carl is a fantastic new addition to our squad. He’s a player who adds much needed energy and quality into our midfield and is versatile as well.
“His competitive nature and winning mentality will add significant value to our dressing room and we foresee him becoming one of the leaders within the group. I’m sure the fans of Goa will love Carl for his competitive nature and winning mentality.”
A versatile footballer with winning pedigree
Acquiring Carl McHugh as part of their setup could be extremely beneficial for FC Goa, as evidenced by the player’s four-year stint in the Hero ISL so far with ATK and Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Known for his versatility, the Irishman can ply his trade from anywhere in the midfield, apart from occasionally playing as a defender as well.
In 2019-20 when he first arrived at Indian shores, McHugh started in all of ATK’s first six games of the season, before an injury ruled him out of action for the remainder of the season. ATK, meanwhile, went on to win the ISL trophy.
He then returned to the league the following year, to join newly-formed ATK Mohun Bagan FC (now known as Mohun Bagan Super Giant). In the three seasons since, McHugh made 60 appearances for them in the ISL, leading them to the playoffs on all three occasions.
The recently concluded 2022-23 season saw the 30-year-old lift the ISL trophy for the second time in his career. He made a total of 21 appearances across the whole campaign, registering three goals and an assist.
On the defensive front, McHugh averaged 4.38 tackles, 0.95 interceptions and 1.81 clearances per game, playing an important role in Mohun Bagan Super Giant finishing as the second-best team in the league stage in terms of fewest goals conceded.
A former Republic of Ireland junior international, Carl McHugh has also played for Reading, Dundalk, Bradford City, Plymouth Argyle and Motherwell FC. Overall, he has made over 337 appearances in his club career, notching 20 goals along with providing 12 assists.