Limerick's All-Ireland dream lives on, Cork are left to rue another semi-final heartache. It was yet again an epic Championship affair in this sensational season as John Kiely's side advance to face Galway or Clare. The final score was 3-32 to 2-31.
With fifteen minutes left, Cork looked to be cruising as they led by six. A valiant Limerick effort seemed to be fading and they desperately needed a boost. One man was capable of providing it.
It has been an immensely difficult year for Shane Dowling. He required surgery last November after a knee injury but pushed to come back for a club run. The 25-year-old had further heartache earlier this year when Na Piarsaigh lost the All-Ireland final replay against Cuala. He returned to a Limerick set-up to find his starting spot was gone and had to settle for an impact sub role. Today he made that impact.
A minute after he came on, a long-range free cut Cork's lead to five. A moment later it was down to four, once again thanks to Dowling. With a minute left, Limerick went in search of a crucial score and there he was, once again, producing for his county.
1-4 for Shane Dowling after coming on, three other Limerick subs scored and Peter Casey caused huge problems for Cork. Strength of their squad won it.
— Fintan O'Toole (@fotoole13) July 29, 2018
Shane Dowling the ultimate impact sub.
— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) July 29, 2018
Shane Dowling: “This time we are not going to the final to march behind a band, we are going up to win”
— Joel Slattery (@JoelSlattery) July 29, 2018
Jaysus Limericks subs were absolutely immense. Shane Dowling with a monstrous game. #Hurling #LimerickvCork
— Diarmuid Masterson (@MasterDan86) July 29, 2018
A nip and tuck extra-time period unfolded until Dowling seized it by the scruff of the neck. A commanding run forward forced the Cork defense into a scramble and the end result was a penalty. As he does time and again, Dowling stood up and converted.
Goal for Limerick! Shane Dowling wins and converts this penalty! pic.twitter.com/0QarOXJ1sZ
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 29, 2018
this year much has been made of Limerick's younger generation, projecting them forward. But in his sixth year as an inter-county hurler, it was one of their more experienced stars who proved crucial. Next up is a return to Croke Park on August the 19 and whether it be starting or from the bench, Shane Dowling will be primmed to propel his county over the line for the first time since 1973.