Limerick stalwart Shane Dowling has announced that he has retired from intercounty action after seven years with the team.
On twitter, the Na Piarsaigh man outlined his decision in a statement.
Dowling first burst onto the scene with Ard Scoil Ris in 2010 as they won the school’s first ever Harty Cup title.
The following year he was a vital member of the Limerick U21 side that won a first Munster title since 2002.
He joined the senior set up in 2012 and was a key figure in the Munster winning side of 2013.
His goal in the 2018 All-Ireland final was a significant one as he helped Limerick to a first All-Ireland title in 45 years.
He was a member of last years winning League and Munster squads.
Dowling will also retire as Limerick’s highest ever championship scorer.
At club level, Dowling has won five Limerick SHC titles, four Munster club titles and one All-Ireland club title.
His service has been incredible over the past decade and we wish him all the best in his retirement.
Statement in full
It is with deep regret and heartbreak that I have to announce my retirement from inter-county hurling today.
This is a decision that I have struggled to accept, and may still struggle to accept
over the coming years, given its premature nature.
To be speaking about retirement from the game I adore, at the age of 27, is not what I ever intended or imagined, and I still hardly believe
this is happening, but unfortunately I have been left with no other option.
After three surgeries on my knee in as many years, and with the possibility of another, my knee can no longer support the demands of inter-county hurling.
There are a number of people in my life that I owe serious gratitude to, and I would like to take this opportunity now to acknowledge them.
To my parents, Paddy and Joan, my sister Fiona and to my girlfriend Paula, I would like to sincerely thank you for putting up with everything over the years, and for always being there by
my side through the ups and the downs.
To the three managers who afforded me the opportunity to play senior hurling for Limerick, and allow me achieve my childhood dream, I will be forever indebted to you.
I will never forget the day John Allen made those dreams come true, when he rang me in October of 2012, and gave me the news that I always wanted to hear.
Following on from that, TJ Ryan gave his heart to the job as manager, as he did previously a player, before John Kiely was the man who led us to the holy grail on that famous day of August 19th, 2018.
To those three inspirational men, thank you very much.
To all County Board officials, past and present, current chairman John Cregan, and in particular to long serving secretary, Mike O’Riordan, who has been extremely good to me down through
the years, thank you all so much for your help and guidance.
To JP, Noreen and all the McManus family, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and thanks for all your continued support over the years.
For me, someone’s character is shown when they stick with you through the bad times, as well as the good, and down through the years, the McManus family never gave up on Limerick hurling, and have always gone above and beyond for us.
To all coaches, selectors, medics, and all other various members of backroom teams over the years, of which there are too many to name check individually, I wish to thank you all so much
for everything you have given to Limerick hurling, and I know you will continue to do so for many years to come.
To the Limerick supporters, you are just one of a kind.
You represent everything that epitomises Limerick hurling- honest, driven, passionate and hungry for success.
Your value to Limerick hurling can never be under-estimated.
Supporters have been very good to me throughout my hurling career, and I will never ever forget that.
The success and guidance I experienced from a young age with my primary school Scoil Chríost Rí Caherdavin, and later in my secondary school Ardscoil Rís, was, no doubt, instrumental to the
successes in my career.
To all the teachers who helped along the way, again, I will be forever grateful.
The opportunity to represent Limerick would never have been possible without my club Na Piarsaigh.
Once again, there are too many people to individually mention, but the countless hours of time, commitment and, most importantly, care you give to all players and members is inspirational.
Please keep this to the forefront of everything you do, because I will never forget what you did for me as a child growing up.
To all my teammates over the years, I can’t thank you enough for the pleasure of playing with you and the bonds that we have created.
While it goes without saying that I will hugely miss hurling with you, I will equally miss the craic that we had off the pitch.
Please don’t ever take for granted each day that you have an opportunity to tie the laces on your boots, because God knows when it could be your last time.
As I close this chapter of my life, which is heart-breaking for me, I am going to try and look at the positives, and fortunately for me, there are a lot of them.
I have fulfilled my dreams, which was above and beyond what I ever thought was possible.
I have no doubt that my obsession with the game of hurling will continue in different capacities in the months and years to come.
If someone told me that July of 2019 would be the last time I would wear the green and white of Limerick, I would have said they were mad.
But there you go, that’s life, that’s sport, so nail it, every chance you get.
Cuimhnigh ar Luimneach, agus Luimneach Abú.
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