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Shane Dowling describes the magic of playing Croke Park

“Even when you feel like you have gotten used to playing there, it still feels different to play on the pitch in Croke Park!”

As referee James Owens blew the final whistle on the 19th August this year, the iconic stadium of Croke Park was lit up into a sea of green. After 45 years, Limerick had ended their drought and were crowned All-Ireland Senior Hurling Champions.

It was a day that Limerick hurler Shane Dowling will not forget in a hurry. We sat down with Shane to find out what it is like to play on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.

Having represented with his county and his club Na Piarsaigh in Croke Park, Shane knows all too well what it is like to play on the famous pitch. But the first time was he was there was way back in 1999.

19 August 2018; Shane Dowling of Limerick following their victory in the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

For the first time

“I was brought up to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Final in 1999. I was six years old at the time. The final that year was between St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, Co. Clare and Rathnure, Co. Wexford. St Joseph’s won it. I was young, but I remember being in Croke Park for the first time.’

The first time Shane played there was back in 2013 in a League with Limerick and he admits that it is very different to play in Croke Park in comparison to any other stadiums in Ireland.

“There isn’t another stadium like it in Ireland. Even when you feel like you have gotten used to playing there, it still feels different to play on the pitch in Croke Park!”

19 August 2018; Shane Dowling of Limerick shoots to score his side’s third goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

When Croke Park roars

And the pinnacle of all the times that Shane has played there is, of course, the All-Ireland Final this year.

“I didn’t know if I would ever get the experience to play there on an All-Ireland Final Day. It was crazy, that is the only way I can describe it. The noise from the crowd is like nothing else. You will never experience anything like that anywhere else. 

We were lucky in a way that we got to experience it in a way with the Semi-Final this year. The volume of noise it just incredible!”

Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay action right here! 

Ellen McConville

Ellen is the Sports Content Writer for Littlewoods Ireland and your go to gal for all things GAA. She is a fluent Irish speaker and a big fan of fashion, music and some cheese and wine as well.

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