Cookstown supporters club 'salute' Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes receiving the presentation from Jason Martin on behalf of Cookstown NISC. Included is Gary McAllister. Pic: Gary Hancock.
Aaron Hughes receiving the presentation from Jason Martin on behalf of Cookstown NISC. Included is Gary McAllister. Pic: Gary Hancock.

Special presentations were made to salute Cookstown and Northern Ireland legend Aaron Hughes during the half time interval at the recent challenge friendly in Belfast.

The 39-year-old ‘hung up his boots’ over the summer having worn the Northern Ireland shirt #18 and won 112 internationals caps with distinction.

Aaron Hughes was accompanied at the presentation by his daughters Kiera (left)  and Leila. Pic: Gary Hancock.

Aaron Hughes was accompanied at the presentation by his daughters Kiera (left) and Leila. Pic: Gary Hancock.

A presentation was carried out by David Martin, President of the Irish Football Association and the IFA kindly gave permission for Jason Martin, Chairman of the local First Royal Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club Cookstown, to also make a presentation to acknowledge Aaron’s contribution and distinguished career with ‘Our Wee Country.’

Hughes attended the match in which Northern Ireland defeated Luxembourg 1-0, with members of his family.

In the crowd cheering were many Mid Ulster supporters who travelled down to Windsor Park for the match.

In July Cookstown North Community unveiled a mural featuring Aaron and fellow soccer legends Stuart Dallas and Ray McCoy.

The community group wanted the mural, which took three months to paint on a wall at Millburn Park, to be a tribute to the distinction the players have brought to Cookstown and district over the years.

Aaron was on holiday and unable to attend the unveiling which was watched by several hundred local people.

Hughes, who captained Northern Ireland 48 times, retired from football in June and recently took on the role of tournament ambassador for the 2020 UEFA European Under-19 Championship.

He made his debut against Slovakia as an 18-year-old in March 1998 when Lawrie McMenemy was manager. He also made his 100th appearance against Slovakia in June 2016.

Aaron’s club career which ended with Heart of Midlothian, saw him play for some of the biggest sides in England, including Newcastle United, Fulham, Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Brighton.

He spend a season in Australia playing for Melbourne City FC before returning to the United Kingdom