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Sadness at passing of Galway hurling legend

He wasn’t just one of Galway’s finest ever hurlers; he was also one of the most unassuming and modest of men – but anyone even remotely au fait with the history of the GAA in the county will know that Jimmy Duggan’s place in the pantheon of greats was assured long before his death at the weekend.

The legendary Liam Mellows clubman passed away at the weekend at the age of 93, breaking a link back to the Tribesmen of the fifties when his own late brother Seánie was another of those greats to finish a glittering career without an elusive All-Ireland.

His club led the tributes to their legend this week, recalling that he was once described as “the best pound-for-pound hurler in Ireland.”

“Jimmy Duggan was an outstanding player, official and administrator for both club and county,” said the club in a moving tribute to their lifelong stalwart.

His inter-county career saw him play a key role for Galway for 18 years, playing in three All-Ireland Finals – and losing all three.

He did pick up a National Hurling League medal at the start of his career, when he was a 21-year-old sub in the team that won the 1951 ‘Home’ Final against Wexford and then a 2-11 to 2-8 ‘Away’ Final win over New York – but these were barren years for Galway hurling, before the county entered the Munster championship.

Galway, indeed, had failed to reach an All-Ireland Senior Final between 1930 and 1952, but 1953 saw them pip Kilkenny in a semi-final only to go down to Cork by 3-3 to 0-8, after a contest marred for many by an incident that saw Mickey Burke, Galway’s captain and right half back, go off injured after a clash with Christy Ring.


Brothers and legends Jimmy (left) and Sean Duggan displaying their skills at NUIG when they were both conferred with the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts in recognition of their lifetime contribution to Galway hurling.


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