Clare sharpshooter Peter Duggan is hoping to extend his hurling career for as long as possible, not so he can win endless accolades, but so he can continue painting smiles on his family’s faces.
The 25-year-old recently submitted his thesis in which he investigated the increasing demands on inter-county hurlers and the corresponding effects on retirement age. His findings showed that the average retirement age has dropped from 32 in the 1990s/2000s to 29 nowadays.
Not good news if you’re an inter-county player in your mid-to-late 20s but it doesn’t seem to bother Duggan too much.
“I wish I could stay going until I was around 40, we’ll have to wait and see, the body is fairly shook now as it is!”
When you ask players about their motivation for returning to the panel year after year, the answer is often centred around trophies and being as successful as they can be. There is nothing wrong with that being a driving force but when Duggan admits that enjoyment is what encourages him to pick up a hurley, it’s a breath of fresh air.
The accompanying grin lets you know that he means it.
“You have to remember that your whole reason for playing hurling is to enjoy it. Concentrating on that Waterford game is brilliant. If we lose [our game], we focus on the next game.
“We are playing hurling for the craic of it, rather than the stress of it.”
You don’t have to dig too far to find out where he got his enthusiastic attitude from. Duggan’s father, Tony, is the Chairman of their club, Clooney-Quin, and a constant, if quiet, supportive presence in his son’s hurling career.
“In fairness to him now, he’d never get involved. He’d ring you up and just say, ‘Well done’, and then hang up. That’s what he’d do. If I played good it’s a ‘Well done’, and then hang up.
“It would be the same with Mam, I’d get a text message like that. No, he’s not a nosy person so he’d never try to get involved.
“And I admire both of them too. He’d be the sort of lad who’d be at the field and would be hiding in the corner rather than being out on show when we’re playing in Clooney.”
The nature of his father’s work in the construction industry means he is constantly travelling. However, it is always meticulously planned so he doesn’t miss a minute of his son’s games.
“He lives and breathes it. What he does is he organises his travelling around hurling. He’d make sure not to miss any of my games, be it Clooney, be it LIT, be it Clare, he’ll make sure he won’t miss any of the games.
“Like, in 2017 when I was coming back into hurling, it’s little things that always make sure you go back playing hurling. Because you know how much it means to him, he absolutely adores it.
“I found it absolutely fantastic to win the All-Star last year because you’d see the smile on his face. It’s things like that that would make you want to play hurling for the rest of your life.”
Three of Gaelic Games’ most stylish hurlers, both on and off the pitch, today launched Littlewoods Ireland’s #StyleOfPlay campaign for the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. 2017 All Ireland and All-Star winner Gearoid McInerney, reigning All Ireland Champion Tom Morrissey and top scorer of 2018 Peter Duggan were in Dublin to announce the launch of the campaign.