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Dowling Thinks Munster Clash 'Could Be Maddest Game Of Hurling Ever'

Dowling Thinks Munster Clash 'Could Be Maddest Game Of Hurling Ever'
By PJ Browne Updated
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Shane Dowling feels that this Sunday's Munster championship clash between Limerick and Waterford "could be the maddest game of hurling that we've ever witnessed".

That notion is mainly down to the presence of Davy Fitzgerald as Waterford's manager, and the idea that a team will have to do something if they are to beat the three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions. Joe Canning said this week that he'd like to see a team go all-out attack against Limerick, and play an orthodox three-man full-forward line.

"I was scrolling through TikTok last night and I saw a goal that John Carroll got in Tipperary vs Wexford in 2001 or something," 2018 Limerick All-Ireland winner Dowling told the RTÉ GAA podcast.

"A Wexford defender got the ball, fired it up the field. It was caught [fired back]. It was just like table tennis over and back for about a minute until eventually John Carroll got the ball, ran and kicked it into the net.

"My point is, that was a game of hurling back then. It's definitely changing but I think this is going to go to a whole new level. In fairness to Davy, if he's nothing else, he's an extremely deep thinker about the game.

"There's been so much talk about Barry Nash going up the field, and how many people do you leave inside? Do you put a man marker [on Barry Nash]?

"He's definitely going to come up with something. I don't know what it is. I'll tell you one thing, if he continues the tactics that he used in the league - ie, that puckout where the goalie sticks his hand up in the air and they all run to the other side of the field... If he continues doing the same stuff that he's been doing, he'll be a foolish boy.


"It would be stupid to think that John Kiely, Paul Kinnerk, Seanie O'Donnell won't have come up with a plan for the stuff that they've been doing. He needs to bring something to the table that's totally different, but I think he is going to do that.

"If Limerick were playing Tipperary, Clare, Cork - anybody else - I'd be just saying that I think Limerick will win. I still do think that Limerick will win but I'm intrigued because I just think it's going to be a mad game of hurling.


"It's nearly been frustrating watching [Limerick], seeing teams doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. I was down at the league final, and I know it was Derek Lyng's first year but I was looking saying, 'This is bonkers stuff'.


"The one thing I'm looking forward to at the weekend is seeing what are Waterford going to bring that's going to do something different? Even if they come with something mad, and Limerick have to do something different, and still win, so be it."

11 March 2023; Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald, left, and Tipperary manager Liam Cahill after the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Tipperary and Waterford at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dowling doesn't buy into talk of this being 'year one' of a Waterford project for Fitzgerald.

"He's not going into a team with a crowd of young lads that he needs to build up. He's going into a team that are ready made for him," said Dowling.

"Internally, if he's going on about 'year one', I just think it's a cop-out myself. He's got players there ready to go.


"I do think he's going to come up with something mad, and I do think that players are going to buy into it because generally, that's what players do. If it goes wrong, and it goes badly wrong, and they do get a hiding, you'd be very surprised how quickly things could turn internally then.

"I met a fairly well-known, prominent Waterford figure recently, who I won't name, and he said, 'I'm telling you, boy, I hear Waterford are flying over in Portugal'. I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Oh, I heard that they had real open conversations'.

"I said, 'I can tell you one thing for sure, if Waterford had a fantastic time in Portugal, you wouldn't know about it, and the fact that you do know about it tells you they didn't have a fantastic time because you should be hearing nothing from what happened over there'.


"If they did have a great time, that's great for them, but nobody should know about it. They were away for a week, and should definitely come back more aligned to what's going on."

See Also: 'Depending If It's Football Or Hurling First, You Might Be There Until 12am'

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