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Limerick's Shane Dowling announces retirement from inter-county hurling

A chronic knee injury has forced the premature retirement from inter-county hurling of Limerick's Shane Dowling at the age of 27.The gifted forward scored 21-292 in 59 league and championship games for his county and played a key role in the long-awaited All-Ireland victory of 2018 when he scored a
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sport

Limerick's Shane Dowling announces retirement from inter-county hurling

A chronic knee injury has forced the premature retirement from inter-county hurling of Limerick's Shane Dowling at the age of 27.The gifted forward scored 21-292 in 59 league and championship games for his county and played a key role in the long-awaited All-Ireland victory of 2018 when he scored a
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GAA Referees working hard to get back up to speed

By John Harrington Just like players, referees are doing all they can to ensure theyre as best prepared as they can for a return to action.According to the GAAs National Match Officials Manager, Donal Smyth, significant work has been done behind the scenes to get referees back up to speed.Since
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HVIII and Bubba vs. Jason Day and Wesley Bryan at Rocket Mortgage

HVIII and Bubba vs. Jason Day and Wesley Bryan at Rocket Mortgage

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Donie Smith wants Roscommon to deliver on underage promise

Donie Smith wants Roscommon to deliver on underage promise

By Cian O'Connell

Delivering on their vast underage promise is what Roscommon intend to start doing at senior level in 2017. In the last 11 years Roscommon have contested nine Connacht Under 21 Finals winning four.

Significant work has been carried out, but Donie Smith believes the time has arrived for Roscommon to produce on the grandest stage.

Roscommon suffered relegation from Division 1 of the Allianz Football League, but they have regrouped in the west.

"It was disappointing getting relegated in the League but the Championship is a whole new competition," Smith says.

"In the last three or four years we havent really covered ourselves in a lot of glory in the Championship, so thats something we are definitely looking at.

"That was kind of the view at the start of the year to try to peak for Championship."

Having reached a first Connacht decider since 2011, Smith admits that Roscommon missed a opportunity out west 12 months ago when losing to Galway after a replay.

"It definitely was, especially getting to a Connacht final, it was our first one since 2011 and we had the ball in the drawn game in the closing moments," Smith remarks. "Look, maybe if the ref didnt blow it up it mightnt have made a difference, it might have but in the replay we can have no excuses, Galway were far superior."

Now Roscommon want to return to the Connacht showpiece. Leitrim are on the agenda, a match that always carries meaning for Smith.

"I live in Boyle, so Im nearly on the border," Smith explains.

Donie Smith, Roscommon, pictured with GPA CEO Dermot Earley.Donie Smith, Roscommon, pictured with GPA CEO Dermot Earley.

"I work in Carrick as well. The rivalry is definitely there. Any time we play Leitrim, especially being a Boyle man, we really want to beat them and Im sure the Carrick-on-Shannon lads are the exact same they really want to beat us.

"People from outside the counties mightnt understand the rivalry, but theres definitely a good rivalry there."

Now the task Smith wants Roscommon to embrace is to deliver this summer.

"Yeah, definitely," Smith says. "Im sure there is definitely an element of, look we did let ourselves down to a point.

"We did make progress in getting to the Final but the manner of how we were knocked out in the replay and then against Clare did leave a sour taste.

"And if you look back in 10 years at the 2016 Championship, youll see Roscommon lost to Galway in a Connacht Final replay and lost to Clare in the Qualifiers and youll forget about how good we did in the league. So that definitely does leave kind of a sour taste."

Fergal O'Donnell's departure as joint manager ensured it was a strange winter in Roscommon, but Smith is adamant that the panel didn't see any cracks appearing during the year.

"As a player, regardless of whats going on, all you can do is focus on playing. I know obviously you would have heard a lot of different things, Kevin and Fergal essentially broke up in a way, but we were always going to go back training no matter who was there. We just had to get on with it.

"Whatever went on behind closed doors with Kevin and Fergal is obviously between themselves, but from our point of view there were no problems we could see, we were in great shape and had a very professional set-up.

"The players have to have a look at themselves as well, we go on the pitch and we did not perform in the replay and against Clare as well we were very poor, so wed have to look at ourselves as well."

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