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An abusive text message motivated Shane Dowling to be Limerick’s scoring hero

The U21 player was the senior star yesterday in Thurles.

Na Piarsaigh's Shane Dowling struck 2-9 for Limerick yesterday.
Na Piarsaigh's Shane Dowling struck 2-9 for Limerick yesterday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SHANE DOWLING HIT 2-9 to be Limerick’s scoring hero in yesterday’s Munster semi-final and afterwards revealed how the personal abuse he has suffered motivated him to deliver in Semple Stadium.

Dowling was on the bench during Limerick’s championship campaign last summer but he issued a statement of intent when handed a starting jersey yesterday.

He struck the match-winning goal as Limerick claimed a dramatic win despite being shown text message last week by his club chairman which contained abuse.

“Last week, the chairman of the club showed me a text message from a journalist in Limerick,” revealed Dowling. “I’ve no problem with someone voicing their opinion. Players play bad, they know they’ve played bad.

“That particular person personally abused me in that text message. I don’t say that lightly. Above nothing else I’m just delighted I got my chance today and I hope I answered him.

“People have questioned a lot of things over me, fitness, ability, the whole lot. I’m not saying I set the world alight on fire. I didn’t. But it’s nice to show that you’re still doing something good.

“One thing I saw coming out from the GPA launch during the week, we’re only human. I don’t know if some people know that we’re only human. I go home tonight, go to bed and get up and go to work in the morning. We’re only here to try our best and I hope people realize that.”

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Dowling found it difficult to understand how Limerick were written off before the game.

“It’s so different to last year because last year no one gave us a chance but that didn’t bother us because we didn’t deserve a chance. This year, I couldn’t understand why no one gave us a chance.

“Our league form was the same as last year. We’re a championship team and we try to do it when it counts. Our supporters are absolutely phenomenal. You saw what it meant to them there today.

“I don’t like bringing it up because everyone has been bringing it up. But when Donal (O’Grady) left, people thought the whole ship fell apart. When the league finished, people though the whole ship fell apart. Nothing fell apart. We’re Limerick hurlers, let our hurlers hurl and that’s all we want to do.

“I saw Andrew O’Shaughnessy saying during the week, all the abuse they got in their time and things that were questioned about them. They were unfortunate not to win anything. We’re Limerick hurlers and all we want to do is hurl.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It’s been incredibly frustrating. I’ve no problem with people voicing their opinions but when people go over the top and don’t show you any respect, it’s not nice. Thank God, that we answered that today.”

It was Dowling who popped up with the decisive score at a stage when Tipperary were poised to close out the game.

“I just peeled away and hoped Kev (Downes) would pop it to me because he was getting closed down,” he recalled of the match-winning goal. “In fairness he did pop it to me. If I struck it the minute I got it, I was going to get blocked.

“I saw a gap and went for it. Thankfully it opened up and I shot to the net. It was incredibly really, the stuff dreams are made of.”

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Dowling’s freetaking also stood up under pressure as his impeccable marksmanship helped bend the game to Limerick’s will.

“The way freektaking has gone, you have to be scoring them all and I’m just delighted with it. Today it worked for me but the next day it mightn’t work. That’s the way hurling goes.

“All we wanted to do was to go out to give a performance. We didn’t want to be a one trick pony. The boys stressed that during the week. Even if we were beaten by a point which could have happened, we still, things panned out for us today. Our performance more so than the victory showed we’ve still got it.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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