Peter Duggan never feared that Gerry O’Connor and Donal Moloney would be lost to the Clare senior hurlers over the off-season.
It is expected the joint-managers will be confirmed for a third season at the helm come next month’s county board meeting after a campaign in which the Banner fell just one point short of Galway in an All-Ireland semi-final replay in Thurles.
“We always knew they were going to stay on,” said Duggan yesterday.
“I think they might just be looking for someone else (for the backroom team) or something. I think that’s the only reason it didn’t come out immediately that they were coming straight back involved.”
Duggan had spoken to the pair a few weeks after the exit to Galway and their intentions at the time were clear.
A member of three All-Ireland U21-winning sides under the duo, he knew all too well how their minds would be working.
“They’re hungry. They’d stay going until they’re told that you’re not going any longer. They always have that bite in them.”
Duggan’s form in 2018 was a major factor in the county’s run as far as the penultimate stage, his total of 3-76 leaving him out in front as top scorer for the championship and earning him an All-Star nomination for good measure.
He wasn’t far off competing for the ultimate honour.
Clare had their chances to get on top against Galway in that semi-final replay but a count of 19 wides, an Aaron Shanagher goal attempt that hit the post, and a blocked free by Duggan conspired against them in Semple Stadium.
“Everything we threw at them, they just didn’t let us get on top. If we had got that one point to get ahead we might have been able to stay going, but we’ll have to look at it individually, where we fell down and that kind of stuff. In fairness, we took a bit out of Galway for the final, but they are some outfit.”
A return to club duties supplied the balm to those wounds but there was more disappointment for Duggan last weekend when Clooney Quin lost a county senior quarter-final to O’Callaghans Mills by three points.
It’s not even that he could do with the break. A holiday in Spain had already been banked and combined with a month away from training to leave him feeling thoroughly refreshed.
His hunger for hurling was apparent in his arrival at training a full hour before most sessions.
That want will be dealt with by the latest Fenway Hurling Classic with Clare, Limerick, Cork, and Wexford all competing in the 2018 version of the Boston event on November 18.
All three games are to be broadcast live on TG4, GAAGO and NESN in the USA.
It’s a concept that has its detractors but Duggan loved every minute of it when Clare took part last time out.
“Coming up to it, I was debating going and my dad said: ‘Peter you have a chance to play in Fenway Park, you won’t get that chance again, go!’ That was my mind made up.”