A giant of Donegal sport laid to rest in Milford - late Hugo Duggan

A giant of Donegal sport laid to rest in Milford - late Hugo Duggan

Hugh Duggan, third from left, pictured at a Donegal Athletic Awards Night

Hugo Duggan, one of Donegal’s greatest all round sportsmen, was laid to rest in Milford on Thursday.

Athletics was his number one sport and the long jump was his speciality. The late Hugo, who died suddenly at his home in Milford on Monday, was a seven-time Irish long jump champion.

He won the first of those national championships in 1967 and his last in 1984. He was also a four-time silver and twice bronze medal winner at the Nationals.

And in a golden spell in his illustrious career Hugh was the leading long jumper in Ireland for the best part of two decades.

In that time, too, he represented Ireland with distinction on the international stage

Former Highland Radio Sunday Sport presenter Myles Gallagher was a member of Cranford Athletic Club along with the late Hugo Duggan and competed with him on the same relay teams.

“Hugo was probably the greatest all round sportsman Donegal has ever produced,” said Myles Gallagher.

“Athletics and the long jump was his number one. But he excelled at all sports soccer and rugby. He also played Gaelic football in his younger days and even when he retired from athletics and took up fishing as a pastime he excelled at it too,” added Myles.

“He was a very modest man. I remember an interview I did with him in 2009. I asked if he ever played golf. He told me he did but he wasn’t very good at it. But I found out since from a number of people he was quite good at it but just never took it in any serious way.

“He is probably the most encouraging and inspiring man I have ever come across. He was an inspiration and encouraged any young athlete he coached at his own club or another club to enjoy their sport. He always emphasised to young athletes, it was not all about winning and that it was important to enjoy their sport.”

One of his greatest athletic achievements was as a Masters athlete when he won the World Masters long jump title in Melbourne, Australia in 1987.

He also won the Australian, British Indoor and Outdoor Masters titles and silver in the European championships. Hugo won multiple awards in Army sports culminating in winning the Mulcahy Trophy.

Hugo was an all round sportsman. He played soccer with Fern United and Telephones United in Dublin and represented Donegal in soccer in the Oscar Traynor Trophy on five occasions.

He played rugby with Letterkenny Rugby Club and formed a potent centre partnership with Irish International Ray Finn. Hugo competed in decathlons with success and won many Superstars competitions in the county.

Angling was his pasttime but like all other sports he excelled at it and represented Ulster on a couple of occasions at Inter provincial level.

When Milford Athletic Club was formed in 1987 Hugo took on the role of coach.

Hugo was also a visionary. He was a founder member of Tirconaill Striders who competed in National League competitions. He was involved in the introduction of Sportshall Athletics to the county and took the first group of athletes to the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow for the Scottish Indoor Championships.

He worked tirelessly for his community in Community Games and was an excellent PRO for the county for many years.

One of his great off track legacies is Moyle View Park in Milford, which caters for athletics, Gaelic football and soccer. He was the driving force behind bringing the three clubs in the town - Milford GAA, Milford United and Milford Athletic - together to develop the facility that is there now.

The late Hugo was 74 and his sad passing is a huge loss to his community but especially to his loving wife Brid and sons Stephen, Alan, James, Hugo Junior and Karol, daughters Maria, Joanne and Breege, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Ar dheis Dé ar a anam.

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