LIMERICK starlet Shane Dowling has lashed a section of the county's supporters for writing off the team's chances ahead of their recent Munster SHC defeat to Tipperary.
The Na Piarsaigh man, who made his championship debut in that Semple Stadium clash, admitted his surprise at the pessimism that surrounds the county's senior side.
Dowling was impressive, hitting eight points before Tipperary took over in the final quarter to set up a semi-final date with Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
"Irrespective of what ye guys (the media) or the Limerick public thought, we thought we were going to win (against Tipp) and we were very disappointed," insisted Dowling at the launch of the Bord Gais Energy U-21 Hurling Championship yesterday.
"This is my first year in the senior panel and I am very disappointed with some of the stuff that we've been hearing.
"I'd just ask the Limerick public to leave us do what we can because, at the end of the day, some of us are full-time workers, some of us have families with kids and none of us get paid anything for playing.
"We try our best and I hope the supporters realise that.
"I don't go near those online forums, but some of the stuff that I hear is ridiculous. People are behind keyboards writing stuff about you and it's ridiculous.
"The supporters have to be patient. It's a learning curve. Maybe in another two or three years, if nothing happens, it might be time to start talking."
Dowling -- who along with team-mates Declan Hannon and Kevin Downes ranks among the most exciting young forwards in the country -- added: "It's my first year in there. If I was 25 or 26 and listening to this sort of stuff for the last five or six years, I'd be wondering if it was worth all the bother.
"We're amateur guys trying our best. Don't get me wrong -- there was a decent turnout in Thurles, but how many of those people were saying that we have a real chance? I don't know."
John Allen's men must now focus on the qualifiers and the visit of Laois to the Gaelic Grounds on June 23.
Should they win that match, they'll enjoy home advantage against Antrim in the next round, and Dowling believes they are still capable of making an impression on the championship.
"In 2011 Donal O'Grady came down and did a great job. John Allen is doing a great job and we're slowly getting there," he said.
"Hopefully people will buy into that because we need every bit of support that we can get."