Na Piarsaigh's Shane Dowling. Sportsfile
Club Stars

The Limerick hurler who was mascot for a Clare club in an All-Ireland final

Na Piarsaigh’s Shane Dowling has Banner club memories to draw upon.

NEXT SUNDAY SHANE DOWLING takes to the field in Cusack Park with his colours nailed to the Na Piarsaigh mast.

He’ll be bidding to help his Limerick club land their second AIB Munster SHC title in three years against Banner outfit Sixmilebridge.

Yet it was with a Clare club that are close to the Ennis venue where Dowling’s formative experiences took place.

When St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield won the 1999 All-Ireland club title against Rathnure in Croke Park, Dowling was the club’s mascot.

Growing up one of his neighbours in Limerick was Ger Hoey, a member of that triumphant side, and that was the link which lead to Dowling becoming involved.

“I was only six years of age”, recalls Dowling. “Dad was with Na Piarsaigh the whole way up. I’m living right beside Na Piarsaigh, I was never going to be anywhere but there.

“But Ger lived across the road and that’s how it happened. You’d Jamesie O’Connor, Seanie (McMahon) and Ollie Baker there. It It was a good starting point wasn’t it when Clare were going so well.

“I appreciated it with all those guys around me and they were after winning an All-Ireland. Just being legends that they were.

“I’ve vague memories of the game and then other memories of being on buses and getting Garda escorts in to Roslevan. It’s a pity I don’t have a few more of them because they were very good times.”


The St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield bench celebrate
Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Long Season

Dowling, who is currently studying to be a pharmacy technician, is after an extended season along with his Limerick teammates in the Na Piarsaigh squad.

They experienced the high of the Munster title win in July before slumping to defeat against Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final in August. The club has been a sanctuary since then.

!If we win on Sunday I’ll be going 12 months on the spin. That’s great if you’re in big games. If we win we’re not out till after Chrsitmas, and if we lose we’re back in with Limerick. So we’ll take whatever comes.

“We are only a club 45 years and there are probably clubs out there 145 years that haven’t been lucky enough to win anything. The older lads that have been there since the very start, that founded the club, I think they have all passed away and the president passed away last week.

“I’m sure everyone who was there since day one do really appreciate it. We’ve had the bit of experience from two years ago. We know Munster club championship isn’t about summer hurling, it’s down being down in the dirt, getting the job and getting the result.”

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