Power surge boosts Dungarvan

Dr Harty Cup final

During his working life, he spread the word as a primary schools coach for the Waterford County Board while he was also involved with countless Déise underage sides. While he is now officially retired, that means there is more time to lend a hand with teams, and among those to seek his wisdom is the Dungarvan Colleges side which plays Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore in tomorrow’s Dr Harty Cup final.

Power was only too happy to offer advice and encouragement.

“At the start of last year’s campaign, the three lads involved, Darragh Duggan the manager, Shane McGrath and Pat Collins, asked me to come on board,” he said.

“I’ve been in and out of Dungarvan CBS over the last 30 years, my children and now grandchildren have gone there, and since I retired from my full-time coaching job eight years ago I’ve spent an awful lot of time there.

“At 71 years of age I’ve seen a lot of hurling, so I hope I’ve been able to provide some bit of experience and advice, I’d call myself a spiritual advisor!”

Having first competed in the Harty a decade ago, the Dungarvan CBS-St Augustine’s College combination went all the way last year and a successful defence of the title is an hour away. For Power, the melding of the two constituent parts has been perfect.

“Some people don’t like combination teams, but that’s the way the rules are,” he said. “Last year I suppose we came under the radar a bit, this year we are more exposed as the defending champions but the lads have been excellent.

“Darragh is excellent, in my time I’ve seen plenty of hurling trainers and I would say, without exaggeration, that he is in the top four or five.

“There’s a bond among the players. To be blunt, in the past it might have been the case that there’d be rivalry between the CBS and ‘the Friary’, but these lads are a credit to their families, their schools and themselves.

“It’s probably the finest group I’ve worked with since the Waterford team which won the U21 All-Ireland in 1992 which, I always say, was one big, happy family.”

Templemore stand in Dungarvan’s way, however. Underdogs all through, the Tipperary school have surprised many and Power knows that they will provide a stiff test. “I haven’t seen them yet, but by all accounts they’re a very good side,” he said.

“We know that what they’ll bring more than anything else is a savage workrate.

“I don’t think at the start of the Harty that many people would have expected them to be in the final but they’ve earned it and they’ll see this as a huge opportunity.

“What we have to try to do is make sure that our

experience counts and to treat it as just another game.

“At the end of the day, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west on Monday whether we win or lose, and there are over a billion people in China who don’t care about the Harty Cup final.”

And regardless of the result, Power will continue to impart advice. There is always another challenge to come, such as Dungarvan CBS U14 team, also under his tutelage, preparing for a county final.

“Hurling is my life. I always say it’s a pity that I had to get old, I’d love to be able to stay doing it for another 40 or 50 years.”

Match preview

Dungarvan Colleges v Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore, Seán Treacy Park, Tipperary, 2.30pm

Both sides claim only one win each, though Dungarvan’s was last year while Templemore won in 1978 when still a CBS, prior to amalgamation.

The Waterford combination have played with the confidence associated with champions on their route back to the decider, with the semi-final win against Thurles CBS showcasing attacking efficiency as well as defensive fortitude.

In a key period during the middle of the game, Thurles – many people’s favourites – were outscored by 1-7 to 0-1, with Patrick Curran, Críostóir Breathnach and Séamus Keating all impressing in attack.

Curran’s free-taking is important, but a solid half-back line of Tadhg Bourke, Kevin Daly and Tom Devine are also key while Cormac Curran and Colin Dunford – veterans of last year – provide a presence around the middle.

Templemore’s midfield is blue-chip too, however, with John McGrath and Colin O’Riordan combining to form a near-perfect partnership. Goalkeeper Seán Patrick Guerins and attackers Tommy Nolan and Brian Kennedy can all contribute too, with Joseph Nyland anchoring a strong defence.

Verdict: Dungarvan Colleges

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