Northern Ireland football star Aaron Hughes receives MBE in New Year's Honour list

Aaron Hughes MBE
Aaron Hughes MBE

Cookstown native, Aaron Hughes who has played 112 times for Northern Ireland has been honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honours list with an MBE.

Hughes, retired in June, having made his debut as an 18-year-old against Slovakia in March 1998 under Lawrie McMenemy, the Cookstown native went on to captain his country 48 times.

Ironically his 100th appearance came against Slovakia in June 2016 just before the UEFA European Championship in France where he would play in three of Northern Ireland’s four games – including the 2-0 win over Ukraine in Lyon.

Hughes had announced his intention to retire from international duty in 2011 but Michael O’Neill convinced him to change his mind, bringing him back into the fold to win a further 33 caps.

Irish FA president David Martin said on the IFA website: “Aaron is very deserving of this recognition and on behalf of the Irish Football Association I congratulate him on receiving the honour.

"He had an outstanding career at the highest level and represented our country with distinction on 112 occasions.

“Aaron is one of the all-time Northern Ireland sporting greats. He demonstrated a remarkable consistency throughout his 22-year professional career. He was never red carded and is a true role model for any young player looking to be a full-time footballer.”