Martin McHugh and Sam Barkley secure semi-final spot

Martin McHugh and Sam Barkley are one win away from securing a Commonwealth Games medal in the men’s bowls pairs.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Monday, 1st August 2022, 8:00 am

The Team NI duo cruised into today’s semi-final against Wales with a comprehensive 26-8 win over India in the last eight.

McHugh, who was one of the flag bearers at the opening ceremony, won a gold medal at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, but feels his partnership with Barkley has developed as the tournament has progressed, especially after a shock defeat in the opening game.

“It is unbelievable from our first game against the Norfolk Islands to where we are now, it is great to get to the semi-final ,it is one more game and it is our final and we need to win that game,” said McHugh.

Martin McHugh and Sam Barkley

“It was a great honour to carry the flag and I am so chuffed for the kid (Sam) he has worked so hard to get where he is now and I’m looking forward to the semi-final.”

Team NI got off to the perfect start against India.

“We looked at each other after the first trial was over and the green was a lot heavier and it was all about the start and we got a five, the kid started me off and we got a five,” said McHugh.

“We have that chemistry as we play at club level together (Randalstown), we play at Nationals together. Sam is great to play with I couldn’t ask for a better.”

Barkley wasn’t born when McHugh was topping the podium in Malaysia but he is enjoying his first Commonwealth Games experience.

“I can’t believe it, first Commonwealth Games semi-final,” he said.

“We have two chances to get a medal but we don’t want two chances we’re going to win the next one, it has been a dream so far.”

Despite the age gap Barkley feels McHugh and himself are bonding well.

“That’s what it takes and that is what makes a good combination,” he said.

“Even the bad bowls are good bowls there are no such things as bad bowls everything is good and that is what makes it a good pair.

“It’s one game at and hopefully we can get this man another one, they are all tough it doesn’t matter now if we win we are guaranteed a medal.”