Shane Dowling reveals injury anguish and pays glowing tribute to Slaughtneil hurlers
SHANE Dowling revealed he broke down in tears after suffering an injury setback that he felt would rule him out of Na Piarsaigh’s All-Ireland Club senior hurling semi-final with Slaughtneil last weekend.
Dowling, who entered the fray for the start of the second half of Saturday’s clash, produced a moment of ridiculous skill to score and book the Limerick men’s place in next month’s All-Ireland decider with holders Cuala.
After setting up Kevin Downes for a 41st minute major, 11 minutes later the Limerick county star charged down Slaughtneil ‘keeper Oisin O’Doherty’s attempted clearance, flipped the ball over the head of a defender before batting the ball into the net.
It was Dowling’s first competitive appearance since suffering a bad knee injury in Na Piarsaigh’s county final win over Kilmallock back in mid-October.
And just seven days out from their All-Ireland last four meeting with the Derrymen, Dowling pulled up during a training session that he thought would rule him out.
“I was out for a long time,” said the Na Piarsaigh match-winner.
“It’s amazing what can happen in a week. I broke down in tears on Na Piarsaigh’s pitch last week because I broke down in training and I didn’t think I was going to make the semi-final but I did.
“I got an operation on my knee and I was out for three months. The recovery was going well and I got a setback. I was told to do nothing all week and I might get a half out of it, so maybe I’ll get two [halves] the next day.”
Dowling described the Munster champions’ first half performance as “embarrassing” but added that credit was due to the intensity of Slaughtneil’s challenge that saw the Ulster champions lead by three at the break.
“While we were very, very poor they were very good,” said Dowling.
“They wanted it more, it’s as simple as that.
“I don’t know Slaughtneil. I’ve never been there, nor do I know anyone from there – but I’ve massive respect for what they do and what they have done for such a small parish.
“They’ll be very disappointed but they’ve obviously another championship to go after. From the bottom of my heart I wish them the best because they come from a real sporting place.”