"It's unreal for your hurling" - handball background standing Duggan in good stead
There's a buzz in Peter Duggan's voice.
Winter is behind, summer is only around the corner. This is what he's been waiting for.
The League didn't go too well for the Clare hurlers but he didn't grow up dreaming about the first half of the year. It's championship season, there's a cut in Clare training and the Clooney-Quin man doesn't have a minute to spare. He wouldn't want it any other way.
"I have a lovely two weeks ahead of me," he told SportsJOE at Littlewoods' launch of the hurling championship.
If busy is the way to be well then the final year Business and Sports Management student in LIT is in paradise.
"I've four exams coming up, my final year exams - and sure in between studying for them and training, and practicing for the hurling, I'm flat out. So just so I wouldn't be worrying about it and that I'd be relaxed, I've an Excel Sheet full up with my schedule for it. Practicing, pucking, studying, exams and training! Sure what else would you be at, I don't mind it at all and with the weather picking up, this is where we all want to be," he says.
You'd find it hard to faze a man like Peter Duggan. A horizontal personality who takes everything as it comes, it takes championship season and the smell of freshly cut grass to really get him going.
"There's a real sense of enjoyment in the Clare camp, we'd be messing around at training, it's great - everyone knows each other so well and it's very easy going. Then once we're hurling, it's hard but that's how you want it like. We've all come up together, it's like one big family and even with lads like Diarmuid Ryan coming in - he's only 19 but it's great craic, they fit in so well with us too.
"I'm a big fan of summer hurling with the ball hopping and moving fast. I think we all are. We didn't have the best of Leagues but we're just mad to put that behind us, Jesus just thinking back to losing that Munster final to Cork last year, that's still raw like so we just want to make up for it and try go one better this year..."
One man who will have a huge part to play in Clare's success will be Duggan's teammate Shane O'Donnell. He'll take a break from his studies in Harvard to help his Banner boys this summer and Duggan couldn't dream of a better teammate.
"Shane is an absolute legend. Having him back, like we all admire that man for what he's achieved in his life, but he's such an intelligent down to earth man too."
"He'd be analysing games and stuff like that and you can see that in his hurling, he's an absolute joy to play alongside. His use of the ball is unreal like and when you're playing beside him, you just know he'll give you the pass one and two that it will be a good one...It's great to have him back, he gets on with everybody.
As for his own game, the big half forward has carved out a reputation for himself as something of a freestyle hurler. He puts that down to all the handball he played as a youngster.
"The handball has been a huge help. I played it from when I was a young lad and it's definitely the reason I'm able to catch the ball in either hand now. It's unreal for your hurling, for your wrists from the striking and your feet too from bopping around the court. I don't get to play much anymore but I've only fond memories and the more people that do get involved the better. There are loads of clubs around the place now and it's no wonder it's so closely related to the hurling and that so many players have played it..."
DJ Carey is one of the most skilful hurlers ever to play the game and he always spoke highly of its effects.
"It’s no secret that the reaction of guys are quicker than most.” “My footwork and anticipation came from Handball.”
“This game of Handball stood to me more than anything in the game of Hurling.”
And then in typical Peter Duggan style, he closes off with a self deprecating dig.
"I still think my hands aren't that good anyway," he laughs.
No better man.