LIMERICK FC’s new captain Shane Duggan is hopeful that the club’s younger players will make a name for themselves over the course of the 2014 season.
The 24-year-old, who signed from Cork City in the off-season, intends to lead by example and he has also challenged his less experienced team-mates to build on their potential.
Duggan said: “You’d expect the older lads to lead by example. I’m only 24 myself but there’s a lot of young lads coming through and it’s up to them to push themselves through and make the step up. When you’re that young it’s just about consistency and, when you get the chance, to take it, but it’s definitely up to me to try and guide them along and I will do that.
“I’m not expecting them to come in straight away but if they’re called upon I hope they’re ready and I’ll be helping them along all the way in training. I’ll try pass on what I can to them.
“They’ve got the ability to do it and it’s just down to themselves to put in the hard work now. They can make sure they’re knocking on the door for the manager to put them in the team and that they’re ready to make the step up when they’re called upon. The ability is there. They just have to keep working hard and push themselves for the starting 11.”
Duggan was recently named as the club captain for 2014, despite his status as a newcomer to Limerick FC, but he brings with him considerable experience from his time with Cork City, in addition to a spell in England.
He admitted that the captaincy came as a surprise, but the Limerick native is adjusting well to life with the Super Blues, believing that the tactical philosophy of manager Stuart Taylor is similar to that employed by former Cork City boss Tommy Dunne.
“To be honest I was surprised [to be named captain]. It’s a massive responsibility but it’s one I’m looking forward to. Hopefully I can do a good job for the team in leading them out and I’ll try my hardest in every match and training session. Hopefully I can lead by example and be a good captain.
“I’ve adapted really well. I knew quite a few of the lads. I played against a few of them last season and I knew one or two of the Limerick lads from playing with them growing up.
“As for adapting to the style of training, it’s very similar to down in Cork under Tommy.They both have the same philosophy. They like to get the ball down and play football, which I like, and it was pretty easy to adapt. All the lads were top notch. They accepted me into the group and they’re all friendly.”
Duggan is now chomping at the bit for Friday’s league kick-off against Bray Wanderers at Thomond Park and he is hopeful that Limerick can break into the top six in 2014.
“I actually can’t wait. I’ve been counting down the days to this Friday. It’s been a long, hard pre-season but I’m really looking forward to lining out with the lads.
“We want to push on from last season. If we can rack up more points and finish higher up the table it will be a good achievement but it’s going to be a tough year. Any team can take points off each other this season and we really just have to build on last season and try finish higher than what we did last season.”