# Award Winner
'If you'd to see the smiles and it wasn't just me, it was Mam and Dad'
Peter Duggan gives an insight into what it means for a small club to produce an All-Star winner.

FOR SOME CLUBS, producing All-Star winners is run of the mill stuff.

Take James Stephens for example. Ten hurlers from the Kilkenny club have brought home 27 All-Star awards over the years. Cork’s Blackrock are not far behind with nine players delivering 21 All-Stars over the years.

But for Clooney-Quin in Clare, it was an entirely different matter when Peter Duggan was rewarded for his fine 2018 campaign with the right-half forward position on the team of the year.

Peter Duggan arrives Morgan Treacy / INPHO Peter Duggan before their Munster SHC clash against Tipperary. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Technically, former Kerry goalkeeper Declan O’Keeffe was already All-Star winner by the time he joined the Clooney-Quin football team.

“I’m actually the second one in the club. Declan O’Keeffe from Kerry is in Clooney now but he didn’t get it why he was there. He was the first, but he’s a blow-in!” Duggan laughs.

The 25-year-old’s first All-Star was a huge deal for the club and it was refreshing to hear the talented forward speak about what it meant for the local community.

The day after the All-Star Awards night, Duggan headed for Taylor’s Bar in Ennis which is owned by the family of county team-mate Ryan Taylor. Clooney-Quin put on the night to acknowledge Duggan’s achievement after finishing top scorer (with 3-76 to his name) in what may go down as the greatest hurling championship of them all.

“The whole of Clooney came in, there must have been the bones of 250 people to congratulate me inside,” says a beaming Duggan.

It was little things like that, I just smiled inside as happy as Larry. But I was absolutely wrecked from the night before, I think I was home at 10.30pm that night. I’d to be put home!

“If you’d to see the smiles and it wasn’t just me, it was Mam and Dad inside, that’s what makes it so much easier to go back. Imagine how happy that was for 250 people to see me (win an All-Star) after knowing me my whole life.

“Imagine the whole of Clare being able to see after winning an All-Ireland or Munster. That’s the things that will drive you on.

Bodibro New Season Launch 2019 Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE Clare hurler Peter Duggan was speaking at the launch of Bodibro High Performance Sportswear 2019 GAA range. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

“It’s nice to be recognised but then at the same time, the second 1 January came that’s forgotten about, the main objective is to try and get another one even though that’s going to be very, very hard. That would be the ambition I’d be aiming for. If it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. 

“The main thing would be I’d love if we won another All-Ireland or another Munster with Clare. Personally, I was delighted to get an All-Star and it’s a great momentum to have but at the same time it’s a team sport and the main thing is winning with your team.”

A year earlier, Duggan admitted he considered packing the inter-county game after seven years on the fringes of the Clare squad. 

“I’m delighted I didn’t now,” he says.

It was huge. It was the first All-Star in Clooney so it was a very, very cool moment. We had three different nights and Clooney gave me a nice little memento too. It was very nice to have.

“There was lots of different things that went on between the club and that. We’ve a great underage in our club and I was asked to do a good few medal presentations and little things like that.”

The enjoyment factor returned for Duggan last season on the field, but he highlights the “little things you find that make you absolutely love it again.”

“Last year I got asked to do a few things from kids in the club,” he explains. “It’s just them little things that you love and think, ‘That’s cool. I would have loved that when I was younger.’ 

“Fergal Lynch from back in the day is my clubman and if I asked him to do something and he did it for me I’d think, ‘Oh, this is the best thing ever.’

I’ve had that from kids in the club, even something as small as signing a sliotar. When you see the expression on their faces, it makes everything so much easier. You enjoy going to training sessions because you know by going you’re improving.

“You find some way to enjoy them even though when you’re out running there’s some parts of it that aren’t enjoyable but you have to find the parts that really are and the reason why you do it.”

Peter Duggan after the game Tommy Dickson / INPHO Peter Duggan after the All-Ireland semi-final replay loss to Galway. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Duggan has an infectious personality and exudes positivity. After spending 20 minutes in his company at the launch of Bodibro Sportswear’s new 2019 GAA range, it’s easy to see why he’s such a popular member of the Banner squad.

He speaks candidly of the agony of LIT’s Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final loss to NUIG last week, a game where he missed an early penalty for the Limerick college.

“It hurt,” he says. “I fair thought we might get over the line. But no, we didn’t show up at all on the day. It’s a sore one to take but that’s the joys of hurling.

“I couldn’t get going myself, I lost my hurley about five times so I was going around the place using my hands trying to block one. It just wasn’t working out at all.

Even the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final between Mary I and NUIG was on in Cusack Park. A load of the lads asked me if I was going into it and I was like, ‘There’s no hope I’m going anywhere near that. That would absolutely kill me to go into that.’”

Clare’s narrow All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway last August was another difficult moment. The subsequent All-Ireland decider wasn’t easy viewing, as the experience tinged with regret.

“I found it hard. You’d never not watch the All-Ireland final, you love hurling. The only reason I play hurling is I absolutely love it. I still watched it but it hurt, it hurt a lot.”

Duggan is an off-the-cuff hurler, typified by his sensational score against Galway last summer.

He often catches the ball off his ‘wrong’ hand, but finds the skill useful to deceive unsuspecting defenders. It was a move he perfected during the hours he spent as a youngster in the handball court.

“I don’t know what I do half the time being honest! I think that came from handball, I played a lot of handball when I was younger. I liked being different because I don’t think there’s too many that catch it with both hands and I actually find it nearly easier catching it with my right.

I used to love when someone would say, ‘Get to his catching hand.’ And I’d smile and think, ‘Ah ha, I have you here!’ So catching with both hands was just something from handball I kept on.

“It’s made a huge difference over the last few years. I’d surgery on my hand only recently and I’ve only just been able to catch the ball on my right hand again. It’s a nice thing to be able to do.”

Peter Duggan and Enda Morrissey Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Peter Duggan contest a high ball with Enda Morrissey. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

He’ll complete his degree in business and sports at LIT in May and then plan after that is to take a month or so out before he goes job hunting. Down the line, Duggan has a business idea in his head that he hopes to get up and running. 

“I’d say long-run I’m going to start up an aul landscaping business in a few years time. I’ll go into the business line of things for a year or two and if I like it I might stay in it. But I like working with my hands so I’ll probably start up a landscaping business or something along those lines.” 

The enjoyment factor in landscaping comes from “seeing the finished product of a job.”

“I worked for a few years now in maintenance for the county board and doing the fields for the Clare GAA in Cusack Park and out in the Centre of Excellence out in Tulla. I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’ve also done different days here and there with other people and contractors and stuff like that.

When you go into a job and you see a lawn that has weeds and moss everywhere and then when you leave you see a job accomplished. It’s the same way as if you go into a game and you end up coming out winning, it’s just a nice feeling. I wouldn’t get that same feeling when I complete a profit and loss account! 

“I’m in LIT for six years and the books were never really a strong point for me. I never really cared too much. I loved going out labouring. I loved being told to go away and ‘do that’ and I’d if I started up my own company I’d have no problem in asking someone other lads to do it!”

Peter Duggan James Crombie / INPHO Peter Duggan prepares to take a placed ball. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

The day of inter-county players choosing labour intensive careers on building sites has long gone, but Duggan has no concerns about combining physical work with training and games.

“Would you believe I’ve done labouring for many a summer and I’ve found going to training on days I’ve been working from 7am to 6pm, I found I’ve nearly more energy than days I’ve been sitting down doing nothing.

“The way things are gone now most inter-county players are teachers you get that little bit of time off and you’ve more time to go do your food prep and things like that.

“I think as an inter-county player you should go away and do what you want to do. I’ve taken my time, I’m 25 now and only just finishing up in college this year. It won’t affect me overly if I do start up a company before I’m finished hurling because I’ll get through the labour-intensive part of it.

I only enjoy it anyway and it wouldn’t bother me too much. If I’ve to take off a Friday before a big game, look it will be alright. Or a Monday!”

The work on the Cusack Park field was particularly beneficial for Duggan’s free-taking duties last summer. He’s asked if he ever brought a hurley into the grounds to practice his shooting after the day’s work was done.

“Oh every day. That’s half of the reason I worked there! Most days I’d have the hurley inside, I actually had a hurley left inside there. I used to love finding a few sliotars after training.

“When we were training inside in Cusack Park I’d pick up three or four brand new ones and I’d launch them fair high. They wouldn’t be seen and I’d collect them the next day!”

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