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Like Jack McCaffrey, Shane Dowling played with a smile on his face - now both are gone

Colm Keys


Huge loss to Limerick and the game of hurling

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Limerick's Shane Dowling has been forced to retire

Limerick's Shane Dowling has been forced to retire

SPORTSFILE

Shane Dowling improvises to score a superb goal for Limerick in last year’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final defeat to Kilkenny

Shane Dowling improvises to score a superb goal for Limerick in last year’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final defeat to Kilkenny

SPORTSFILE

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Limerick's Shane Dowling has been forced to retire

How had it been different, Shane Dowling was asked in their City West base on the morning after Limerick's 2018 All-Ireland hurling title win.

He could have deferred to countless gym sessions, nutrition plans, tales of communal squad suffering or some cathartic moment of illumination, but instead, he remembered the '99' van pulling into the Gaelic Grounds after training on a fine summer's evening and "everyone just chilling out on the field, having an ice cream".

If the 2018 champions were the embodiment of a team that wore their responsibility lightly, Dowling was one of their poster boys to that effect.