Monday 23 September 2019

Dowling: 'You'd love a few months off, but you love success more'

Shane Dowling. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Dowling. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

A chance meeting with former Cork hurling boss Kieran Kingston at the Listowel Races in the weeks following Limerick's All-Ireland SHC success provided Shane Dowling with plenty of reassurance.

The young Treaty side may have scorched to Liam MacCarthy against the odds but their celebrations resembled that of chiselled veterans, something Kingston was quick to tell Dowling.

"I've never met the man before, we had a good chat and he just said, 'All I'm hearing back from everyone is how well the Limerick players are carrying themselves', and to me that was the greatest compliment we could get," Dowling said.

That came as a great satisfaction because the final whistle had hardly sounded and Limerick manager John Kiely had encouraged his troops to revel in the ground-breaking triumph without allowing it to change them.

"I spoke to John after the final, when you go across the way for a meal with the opposition or whatever, the two of us were chatting at the table and he said two things that struck me," the 25-year-old outlined.

"He said, 'One thing you can be damn sure of is this win isn't going to change me'. I said, 'John, I second that, it's not going to change me'. And his speech on the bus from Croke Park, when we got near to the CityWest, he more or less echoed the same thing.

"He said, 'This success better not change anyone, you're still who you are, you've won something that's huge and we've huge respect here and we have to carry that respect everywhere we go'.

"I think people tuned into that straight away. We are a very young team so it would be very easy to get carried away doing stuff that might get you in trouble but it hasn't happened and I can nearly guarantee you it won't."

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With Na Piarsaigh still flying high and contesting Sunday's AIB Munster club final against Waterford kingpins Ballygunner - a repeat of last year's decider - the former All-Star attacker and his clubmates haven't had as much time to enjoy the success as others.

"There will be plenty of time between Monday and Christmas to enjoy it," he says and he purposely hasn't watched the All-Ireland final back for fear he would then have to leave it in the past - plus he hasn't a DVD player or set up his TV for recording in his new house yet.

Sunday is all that's on the sharpshooting forward's mind, however, and he insists an ongoing shoulder injury - it "pops in and out" from time to time - will not rule him out of the weekend clash.

It will need an operation at some stage - as will "two massive bunions" on the side of his feet - but he hasn't the six months to spare as Paul Beary's star-studded Na Piarsaigh side bid to maintain their unbeaten provincial record and claim their fifth Munster record.

"You'd love a couple of months off. But you love success more. All it's going to do ultimately is probably shorten careers. If you're consistently on the road for a long number of years, it's not going to be impossible to stay going. But we're a driven club, a driven county," he said.

"I keep saying there's a window of opportunity here, we know we've a team good enough to win these things, so you'll be on a barstool long enough, you're only playing for that short window, and you have to do whatever you can to win what you can in that window. That's what it comes down to."

Irish Independent

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