Clare Hurler Peter Duggan is no stranger to knocking points over the bar. Throughout this season he scored frequently with ease for the Banner.
There is, however, one score that Duggan admits he always gets asked about.
“I could try and do that thirty times and I wouldn’t be able to do it once”, laughed Duggan who was speaking at the launch of the Fenway Hurling Classic at Croke Park on Thursday.
Duggan is, of course, referring to his outrageous score in Clare’s All-Ireland semi-final clash against Galway, a point which levelled the game at the time.
The 25-year said the skilful shot was improvised, joking that he was thankful it went over.
“If it went wide I would have been absolutely shot”, he said.
Peter Duggan with a lovely skilful point. pic.twitter.com/gOME4yoYJU
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 28, 2018
Clare reached the semi-finals of the All-Irelands, and although they were disappointed not to win their first Championship since 2013, Duggan said they were was no shame in being put out by Galway, who he described as “one of the best sides of the last ten years”.
This year’s Championship was one of the best in years and made the whole country sit up and take notice.
“To bring it back from nine or ten points in each of the last two games, it shows the standard of hurling these days. Every team is of fairly equal quality”.
Duggan stated that there is more to come from the Clare hurlers:
“We did get to an All-Ireland semi-final, but at the same time, we knew that there would be a bit more in us.”
“This year we had a bit of momentum behind us and if we can only drive that on to next year we can hopefully be in somewhat of a good shape.”
In three championship appearances this season, the forward scored 1-27. He put his good scoring season down to confidence:
“It’s not even individual confidence if your team’s going well it’s a lot easier to put frees over”
Duggan also talked about the sacrifices that hurlers have to make in order to compete at the highest level.
Playing hurling meant he “missed out on the [social] aspect”, he “never really experienced college life compared to other lads”, and he even thought of leaving the panel before the start of the season.
However, Duggan says the positives of playing hurling are still outweighing the negatives, and he now plans to play on for “seven or eight more years”.
Duggan revealed that the training sessions are extremely challenging on the body, “Even after a relatively easy training I’d still be crippled a few days later”, and said he can’t see himself hurling past his thirties:
“As long as Clare are benefitting from me being there I’d stay going, but at the same time I don’t know how long the body will stay going. So we’ll have to just play it by ear.”
Duggan’s club side, Clooney Quin, lost to O’Callaghan’s Mills at the weekend, which he said was “tough to take”. However, he stated that he will enjoy a well-deserved break from hurling:
“I’m going to thoroughly enjoy these three weeks off before we’re back in training for the Fenway”
— Clooney Quin GAA (@ClooneyQuinGAA) September 22, 2018
Duggan grabbed one of the scores of the Championship this year and hopes that Clare’s young, promising side can go one better next year and reach the All-Ireland final. Duggan’s free-taking abilities will certainly be a key factor if Clare are to replicate last year’s success:
“I was lucky enough, this year they went over. I’ll have to wait and see for next year, hopefully they go over too”.