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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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GAA

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
thetricolour.com

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thetricolour.com
National Match Officials Manager, Donal Smyth, talks to GAA.ie.

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thetricolour.com

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Leinster SFC: Westmeath overcome Offaly

Leinster SFC: Westmeath overcome Offaly

Leinster SFC Quarter-Final replay

WESTMEATH 3-17 OFFALY 0-15

By Kevin Egan at TEG Cusack Park

A local derby pairing that has proved notoriously hesitant to deliver goals five of the last seven meetings before today ended without a green flag raised burst into life this afternoon as Westmeath breached the Offaly rearguard three times to set up a Leinster semi-final clash with Dublin at Croke Park next weekend.

The visitors now have eight days to pick themselves up and dust themselves off in advance of a senior football qualifier clash against Cavan in Tullamore, but despite what the final winning margin might suggest, it all could have been very different today in Mullingar.

Last weekend Westmeath salvaged a draw, aided by Offaly losing two players to red cards. History repeated itself this time around as Cian Donohoe was dismissed for a second bookable offence by Rory Hickey with twelve minutes plus stoppage time still to play, and that turned out to be a truly critical moment as the Faithful County who had all the momentum after kicking three points in a row with the wind at their backs coughed up 2-3 once reduced to fourteen players.

Until John Heslin made the win safe with an immaculate finish to deliver the games second goal with three minutes remaining, it looked as if a very tight finish was on the cards. Westmeath got out to a very bright start, largely down to the superb work of Heslin at full forward, and they led by 0-6 to 0-2 after 13 minutes.

However the Faithful men dug their heels in and delivered some fine scores into the wind, and if it wasnt for two Paul Sharry points before half time that left Westmeath 0-9 to 0-5 in front at the interval, one would have said that an away win was marginally the more likely outcome.

That possibility looked even more realistic shortly after the break, as Offaly started to use the breeze in a manner completely unlike their hesitant showing last Sunday. Peter Cunningham took over the contest with a dominant showing from centre back and he kicked a stunning array of scores from distance to help reduce the lead, while Nigel Dunnes accuracy from frees kept the scoreboard ticking over as well.

However if there was to be a goal in the game, it always looked as if Westmeath were the more likely side to deliver it, and so it proved. A breakaway move out of defence ended with Paul Sharry picking out Kieran Martin in the right corner, and the Maryland attacker showed all the power and determination that has become his trademark as he turned and bore down on goal, setting up John Egan for a tap in finish.

John Heslin added another point to stretch the lead out to six, but Offaly werent done for and fired three scores in succession to increase tension levels among the 4,714 spectators. Sean Doyle, Dunne and Cunningham all fired over excellent scores but their momentum was crushed when Cian Donoghue dived in on John Egan with a rash challenge and left Rory Hickey with little option but to show the wing back a second yellow card.

Four minutes later, the tie was done and dusted. A stunning low finish inside Alan Mulhalls near post from John Heslin sent the home crowd into raptures and within a minute they could start thinking about a trip to Croke Park in eight days, as a quick breakaway attack ended with Heslin feeding Martin for another tap in goal.

Scorers for Westmeath: J Heslin 1-6 0-2f, K Martin 1-2, P Sharry 0-3 0-2 45s, J Egan 1-0, F Boyle 0-2, C McCormack, G Egan, N Mulligan & T McDaniel 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: N Dunne 0-5 0-3f, P Cunningham 0-4, S Doyle 0-2, G Guilfoyle, N Darby f, M Brazil & C McNamee 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH: D Quinn; J Gonoud, K Maguire, K Daly; J Dolan, P Holloway, M McCallon; G Egan, A Stone; K Reilly, P Sharry, A Gaughan; K Martin, J Heslin, C McCormack. Subs: F Boyle for Holloway 5, D Glennon for McCormack 352, J Egan for Reilly HT, T McDaniel for Glennon 48, D Lynch for Stone 50, N Mulligan for Daly 51 temp, Mulligan for Gaughan 69.

OFFALY: A Mulhall; B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender; N Darby, P Cunningham, C Donohoe; C McNamee, D Hanlon; N Dunne, J Moloney, M Brazil; R Allen, G Guilfoyle, N McNamee. Subs: J Lalor for N Darby HT, B Allen for N McNamee 41, A Sullivan for Brazil 48, J OConnor for Rigney 55, S Doyle for Moloney 58, D Hogan for Hanlon 702.

Referee: Rory Hickey Clare

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