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Dowling's heartbreak at quitting

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Shane Dowling has been forced to retire from inter-county hurling due to persistent knee injuries. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Shane Dowling has been forced to retire from inter-county hurling due to persistent knee injuries. Photo: SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Shane Dowling has been forced to retire from inter-county hurling due to persistent knee injuries. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Shane Dowling has been forced to retire from inter-county hurling due to persistent knee injuries. The 27-year-old announced his decision this morning via social-media channels.

In an open statement, Dowling said it was "with deep regret and heartbreak that I have to announce my retirement from inter-county hurling today."

He admitted: "This is a decision that I have struggled to accept, and may still struggle to accept over the coming years, given its premature nature.

"To be speaking about retirement from the game I adore, at the age of 27, was not what I ever intended or imagined, and I still hardly believe this is happening, but unfortunately I have been left with no other option.

"After three surgeries on my knee and the possibility of another, my knee can no longer support the demands of inter-county hurling."

Dowling's final appearance for Limerick came in last July's All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kilkenny, when he came off the bench to score a brilliant goal in a narrow defeat that ended the Treaty county's reign as champions.

His injury struggles restricted Dowling, an All-Ireland club winner with Na Piarsaigh in 2016, to mostly substitute appearances in Limerick's first Liam MacCarthy triumph in 45 years in 2018, although he started two matches in the Munster round-robin series against Waterford and Clare.

He shot 0-15 (13f) against the Deise in the Gaelic Grounds, although his two most influential contributions to a glorious year came from reserve. Dowling scored 1-4, including a goal from a penalty, after coming on against Cork in an All-Ireland semi-final that went to extra time.

He also claimed Limerick's third and last goal of the All-Ireland final against Galway.