Limerick hurling has been dealt a devastating blow with the news that all-time leading Championship scorer Shane Dowling has this morning announced his retirement from inter-county hurling at the age of 27.

The sublimely talented Na Piarsaigh forward has been forced to make the decision due to degenerative knee and cartilage issues.

For the past three years Dowling has been dealing with a condition called osteochondroma; an overgrowth of cartilage and bone in the knee area.

Dowling, blessed with the deftest of touches and incredible striking skills, played a key role in Limerick ending a 45-year famine to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2018.

He scored 21-292 in just 59 league and championship games for his county, overtaking the legendary Gary Kirby as the county's leading scorer along the way.

The Na Piarsaigh star came on in the pulsating 2018 All-Ireland decider against Galway and bagged a crucial goal.

At just 27, it remains to be seen if he can continue to play a part at club level.

The day after the final he recalled seeing his parents holding hands walking up to the team's homecoming event at the Gaelic Grounds and says he was swollen with pride that they got to share in the glorious aftermath.

In a stellar career Dowling won a Munster under-21 title with Limerick in 2011.

Two years later he added a provincial title at senior level.

He landed Railway Cups in 2012 and 2015.

An All-Star came his way in 2014 and an All-Ireland club title with Na Piarsaigh in 2016.

In 2018, he helped bring Liam MacCarthy back Shannonside and in 2019 he added to his haul with Allianz Hurling League and Munster SHC honours.