Shane Dowling: Passionate fans sent shivers down Limerick spines

Shane Dowling scored 0-15 on his first outing of the year for Limerick

Limerick sharpshooter Shane Dowling says the half-time ovation he and his teammates got in their Munster SHC win over Waterford gave them “shivers down the spine”.

The Shannonsiders had 13 points to spare over last year’s All-Ireland finalists and Dowling said the home support made a difference for Limerick.

Coming off at half-time after the performance we put in for that first half, you could see what hurling means to Limerick people — you get shivers down your spine when you hear the roar and see the crowd. It makes it so much easier for us.

It was Dowling’s first outing in the championship after a long club campaign with Na Piarsaigh that ended in an All-Ireland final replay defeat to Cuala.

“We were away (with the club) for a couple of months and the boys had the jersey and it was there for everybody to see that they had done a fantastic job. There would have been something wrong if I had come straight back in and into the team.

“It was great to get an opportunity (to play on Sunday) — they are hard to come by because there is a strong panel of players. When you get in you have to try and do your best.”

Limerick must do it all again on Sunday when they go to Ennis for a mouthwatering clash with Clare. “We are going out against Clare next week and if we have an unbeaten record we’ll want to keep it that way for as long as we can,” said Dowling.

We are not looking at this four weeks as an excuse to get tired — we are looking at it to build momentum and that’s what we are trying to do.

“We are a young team and the excuse is there if you want it to be there, but we are certainly not looking for it.

“Next week there will be sore bodies and tired bodies but we have six or seven days to recover and we will. From my own point of view, when you get a chance you have to take it.”

Dowling warned against any complacency. “We have a good team and we have built a good base and we are obviously going to try and drive on from here.

“It’s great to be in your own ground with a big crowd and to put on a performance but we have done that before and we haven’t pushed on. One thing is for sure we won’t be getting carried away.”

Sunday’s game will be another challenge for John Kiely’s team, one Dowling says they’re relishing. “Limerick won’t be going out to play for a draw, that’s for sure. Clare in their own backyard, it may sound like a cliche, but it’s like Limerick in their own backyard or Cork down in the Páirc, it’s not going to be easy. But this team loves a challenge.”

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