By Cóilín Duffy
Kilkenny hurler Richie Power is set to be forced into retirement due to recurring knee problems.
The 30-year old has failed to overcome a crippling knee injury which has hampered him significantly over the last few years.
Power has been one of Kilkenny’s star men during his 11-year senior career, which saw eight Celtic Cross’s annexed.
The Carrickshock clubman has undergone six operations on his knee, the latest before Christmas, after which his team of medical experts informed Power that it would be best if he called time on his Kilkenny career.
It is uncertain if the knee ligament damage is so severe as to end his involvement with Carrickshock.
Blighted by injuries in recent campaigns, which also curtailed his involvement in training, Power made just a single appearance for Kilkenny in 2015, when appearing as a substitute in the All-Ireland Final.
Following a string of retirements at the end of the 2014 campaign, many believed the Cats would struggle in 2015, but claimed back-to-back All-Ireland titles.
Power, was viewed in many quarters as Henry Shefflin’s natural successor, and the bid for three-in-a-row this year will be tough without the Carrickshock ace.
He had a Senior Championship debut to remember, scoring five points against Offaly in 2005, when Kilkenny claimed a comfortable 31-point win over the Faithful County in a last-four encounter in Leinster.
It came after a strong line of underage performances, with back-to-back All-Ireland Minor titles in 2002-03, and also lifting the Irish Press Cup in 2003 as captain.
Second level Hogan Cup success with St Kieran’s College came earlier that year, while the famed Kilkenny hurling school retained that title along with provincial honours in 2004.
2004 was a year to remember for Power, who with his club Carrickshock he won Kilkenny and Leinster Intermediate titles, while featuring on the Cats Leinster and All-Ireland winning U-21 sides.
To add to his eight All-Ireland SHC medals, Power has been a part of seven Leinster winning title sides; earned three league success and picked up two All-Stars in 2010 and 2011.
He scored 14 goals and 81 points in 42 Championship appearances with the Cats.