Limerick All-Star warns of Kilkenny physicality

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Shane Dowling celebrating Limerick's 2018 All-Ireland victory

SHANE Dowling believes his native Limerick should not be clear favourites to land another All-Ireland title in Sunday’s final against Kilkenny at Croke Park.

The Treaty are odds-on favourites to get their hands on the Liam MacCarthy cup for a third successive year, but the Na Piarsaigh All-Star has said the heat could be a huge factor and make it a very close encounter.

“It’s going to be between 28 and 30°C on Sunday which is crazy heat and it’s going to be a huge talking point,” Dowling told BoyleSports.

“If both teams are going to go at it, you’re going to get a lot of tired bodies come the 60-minute mark, so it’s going to come down to who is most physically capable to keep it going for 75 minutes.

“I’d like to think Limerick are more accustomed to that, but Kilkenny are a young physical side with a bit of experience in the mix as well. With the exception of Galway, you’ve got the two most physical teams in the country, so it has the making of a cracker.

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“Limerick are very hot favourites, but it doesn’t make sense to me. I think people are judging it on previous years’ form, but if they do get over the line, I think it’ll be by the closest of margins.”

Dowling, who is Limerick’s all-time record scorer, also warned Limerick that Brian Cody will be well prepared with a strategy to keep their star players quiet.

“You’d imagine Mikey Butler will be pinpointed to pick someone up,” he added.

“The obvious one is Aaron Gillane. Butler is possibly an All-Star as things stand because he’s really good on the ground, but the only thing I’d say is, I don’t know if he’s as good with a high ball coming in – he hasn’t been tested with that.

“If I was Brian Cody, I’d say Huw Lawlor is more accustomed to picking up Aaron Gillane, but one thing for sure is, Cody will have a plan.”