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Published: 18:18 | 19/8/18

Limerick fans urged to go "absolutely mental" after ending 45-year All-Ireland wait

Limerick goal hero Shane Dowling has pleaded with fans to go "absolutely mental for a couple of weeks" after the Treaty ended their 45-year wait for All-Ireland success with a thrilling 3-16 2-18 win over champions Galway.

Goals from Graeme Mulcahy, Tom Morrissey and Shane Dowling had appeared to give John Kiely's side a match-winning lead, but Tribesmen fought valiantly and Conor Whelan and Joe Canning found the back of the net to set up a rip-roaring finale.

Having entered the closing stages eight points adrift, Galway, through the impressive Canning [1-10] had a chance to level and send the final to a replay but his free from deep inside his own half fell short. 

Moments later the sound of final whistle sparked scenes of delirium among Limerick players, staff and fans.

Galway had been unbeaten in 13 championship games, winning 11 of them, since losing to Tipperary in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final.

In truth, despite their late rally, it was probably a game too far for Galway, who had needed replays against Kilkenny and Clare to reach the final.

Limerick deserved their victory and, but for 21 wides, would have been out of sight long before the end.

The win ended a run of five losing finals for them since their last win in 1973 and their eighth overall.

Dowling, who put his recent long-term knee injury behind him to score the crucial third goal in 65 minutes, told Sky Sports: "Anyone who knows me knows I'm not short of words. But I just can't believe it. 

"It's all I ever wanted since I was a young fella and we eventually got there. 

"I don't know how many prayers I've said. This means the world to me and, more importantly, my family, my friends and my club.

"I stood here three weeks ago [after the semi-final success against Cork] and pleaded with the fans to give us space and allow us focus. Now I am saying to the fans, 'can you now go absolutely mental for the next couple of weeks?"

Asked about his goal, he added: "I dreamed of that numerous times before. For it to come true is just mad. I just can't believe it."

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