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Peter Duggan speaking to the pupils during the Clare senior hurling All Star's visit to his old school Clooney NS. Photograph by John Kelly.

Hero’s Welcome For Duggan In Clooney

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Peter Duggan is a man riding on a crest of a wave and he knows it’s something to savour.

The Clooney/Quin man enjoyed a stellar 2018 which saw him pick up a first ever All-Star award for his performances across the season as he finished as the championship top scorer.

Another award came his way this week but this one was of a much more sentimental variety. Principal of Duggan’s former stomping ground in Clooney National School, Shane Greene, presented him with a memento from the staff and students as he returned to a place that holds many fond memories for him.

Students were decked out in their Clare and Clooney/Quin colours to welcome back their local hero while he also presented medals to the boy’s football team who were runners up in their final of the Cumann na mBunscoil tournament earlier this year.

Duggan admits it was a special moment for him to be welcomed back in such fashion.

“It was emotional if I’m honest. It was my first time coming back since we were lucky enough to be able to bring the Liam McCarthy here in 2013. The reception I got and to see all the Clooney and Clare jerseys there when I walked in, that’s a moment I will treasure forever” he said.

The 25-year-old is in his final year of Business and Sport Management in LIT but studying hasn’t always come easy to him. During his time in Clooney National School, Peter was diagnosed with dyslexia, but he says it’s not something that he has ever allowed to hold him back.

“In 4th class, there was a lovely teacher here called Louise Fitzsimons and she helped me out. She brought me into the reading class at Ennis National School for dyslexia and I was there for 5th and 6th class and they were brilliant to me. I wouldn’t have had that help if it wasn’t for the teachers that were in Clooney at the time. It worked a treat for me because I found everything easier through secondary school and even right through to college, so I will always be grateful to them for that. Everyone thinks dyslexia is a lot to different to what it actually is. I have to think a little bit more when I am reading or doing maths, but you just have to accept it. Dyslexia makes things a little bit harder and people think that it makes you limited but you’re not. It’s up to yourself if you want to drive on through the education system. You may find it a bit more difficult than other people, but it will never stop you once you have the mindset to succeed. It will not hold you back once you are prepared to put a bit more time into it” said Peter.

With the new season just around the corner, thoughts are very much focused on 2019 but for Peter it may be a later start than others. He is due to undergo surgery this week on a hand issue which he says has been troubling him this year and he is hopeful that going under the knife will solve the problem once and for all.

“I will have surgery this week on the hand, but I don’t think it’s a major deal. They are just going to go in and see what the story is with it. They’ll see if they can tear away a small bit of rubble around it. I have been having a bit of trouble with it now for the last little while but hopefully after three or four weeks it will be back A1 again. I can do all the running with it no problem but hopefully I can get a bit of hurling back into it before the National League” he revealed.

2018 saw Clare bow out of the All Ireland Championship after a semi-final replay loss to Galway and Duggan admits while it was a year that progress was made, the competitive beast of an inter-county player will always demand more.

He said: “We had a good year last year, but it still didn’t get us where we wanted to go. We fell short and there were a few aspects of our game that we need to improve on and that’s going to be our main focus over the next while. We need to find that extra little edge that we didn’t have to get us over that Galway barrier but at the same time everyone is really positive. We have had a few new players joining the panel and everyone knows there is talent here in Clare and it’s about making the most of that to get us over the line. It comes down to us raising the bar at training to make sure we get the most out of ourselves”.

Before all that, Peter is looking forward to spending time with family over the Christmas break. His eldest brother James won’t make it home from China for the holidays, but there will still be plenty help to celebrate.

“My brother Martin is having his stag in February, so James is waiting to come home for that, but Martin and my other brother Paul will be around along with all the cousins in Spancillhill. We usually go to Duggan’s Bar on Christmas Eve and have a pint and a few games of cards. We are very fond of the cards in Spancilhill and there’s usually a bit of crookery goes on when they’re brought out” he grinned.

Listen to the full interview with Peter as he spoke to the Clare Champion’s Derrick Lynch:

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