"You'd nearly want a telescopic loader to try and stop him." - Duggan back with a bang 1 month ago

"You'd nearly want a telescopic loader to try and stop him." - Duggan back with a bang

There's been a 6 foot 3 inch hole in the Clare forward line for the last two years. There's a 6 foot 3 inch bucking bronco of a blockbuster in the Clare forward line this year.

It's good to have Duggan back. It was a monumental blow for the Banner in November 2019 when, as an All-Star, as a key-man and as a hurler in his prime, Peter Duggan bit the bullet, he dropped the hurl and he headed for Australia.

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We weren't too surprised. Having chatted to him in late 2018, in an interview that was nothing if not engaging, the one thing you couldn't help but notice about the Clooney-Quin player was that he was a free spirit.

There were no cliches that day.

"I was in LIT for six years and the books were never really a strong point for me," he told us back then.

"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," he said with a laugh.

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"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.

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"Just seeing the finished product of a job," he said.

"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."

Duggan brought that expertise to Perth and back home, the Clare hurlers missed him like a hole in the head. If you were given three words to describe Duggan as a hurler you'd say big, skilful and flairy and as we all know and as every manager will tell you, you can't afford to lose a lad like that because they aren't growing on trees.

Clare missed his prowess under high balls. They missed his ability to conjure a score from nothing and above all else, they missed his presence in that forward line. But he's back now, and having only featured sparingly in the League, he made his first championship start at the weekend and if you ask any Tipp person they'll tell you it was like he'd never even left.

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Duggan had 1-1 to his name by half-time and he made a nuisance of himself all day. On The GAA Hour hurling show, Kilkenny man James Ryall talked about the unique threat he poses.

"The size of Duggan, you'd nearly want a telescopic loader to try and stop him.

"When a guy like that is front of you, and he's got such a reach, such a claw out in front of him, there's no way to defend it.

"That physicality and that size - size is massive in any sport and if you have size and you're able to hurl, you have the right combination."

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That's what Duggan has. On the line, Brian Lohan was happy to have him back. In the stands, so too were the Clare fans.

"They've been excellent since they've come back," Lohan said of Duggan and O'Donnell.

"They've both worked really hard. It's great for themselves personally to get the rewards for the work that they're doing," he added.

The summers are warm in Australia but this could be a long summer yet.