Power has no plans to join Kilkenny hurling exodus

Richie Power has no intention of joining some of his erstwhile Kilkenny teammates in self-imposed retirement, but the Carrickshock forward knows all too well the sacrifices needed to hang on to the inter-county merry-go-round.

It’s four years since he made the short journey to Whitfield Clinic in Waterford to seek a specialist’s opinion on a hip injury picked up on the way to All-Ireland glory the September before, and one which left him unable to so much as bend down to pick up a sliotar.

He was soon under the knife.

“His reckoning was if I didn’t get it done, I’d need a hip replacement before I’m 40,” said Power at the launch of the GOAL Miles.

“When you’re hearing things like that, it kind of makes you think, to say ‘Is it worth it? Yes, obviously it is worth it.

“You are thinking about long-term as well. When you finish inter-county hurling you are going back to your everyday life, your job, and you have to be in the full of your health. You do these things to push your body to the limit when you are playing at the highest level.

“It’s all part of it.”

Power has leaned on medical science, but he has defied it as well. He returned in what was effectively the blink of an eye this summer after undergoing more surgery, this time for a posterior cruciate problem suffered in the drawn Leinster semi-final against Galway.

He missed the replay with Galway and the provincial final against Dublin, but returned 50 minutes into the All-Ireland semi-final against Limerick and started the final and replay against Tipp, bagging four goals in those last three games in the process.

All of which seemed unlikely when he pulled up in Tullamore last June.

“Thankfully it wasn’t a serious injury, but it’s an injury that’ll keep you out for a while.

“A posterior cruciate is obviously not as serious as a cruciate ligament. I just done an awful lot of rehab. I think I was back running a week and a half after I done it.

“I wasn’t supposed to, but it was worth it in the end. I said that to the two (Kilkenny medical staff) after the All-Ireland, that it was a good decision to push forward.

“There wasn’t going to be any long lasting consequences with pushing it.”

Maybe, but there are legacy issues.

Michael Rice missed out on the county’s return to the heights in the summer of 2014 after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in a training camp prior to the opening Leinster meeting with Offaly, but Power is certain his Carrickshock teammate will be back good as new.

“In fairness, even with the cruciate gone, Michael was such an inspiration inside in the panel. He was there every night, he was looking at the way training was going and, if guys needed advice or anything like that, he was there.

“He was top-class on that side of things. A good few of the guys have come back from a cruciate. It’s not easy, it’s a horrendous injury. It’s one I hope I never get, touch wood. Knowing Michael, I think he will come back stronger than ever.”

Rice’s return would go some way to diluting the impact sure to be felt from the absences of David Herity, Brian Hogan, JJ Delaney, Tommy Walsh and Aidan Fogarty, all of whom have walked away from the panel in recent months.

Power admits to being surprised by the losses given the squad spoke in the aftermath of their winning season and agreed that there was no need for anyone to call time. Delaney’s departure, in particular, was a “shock the system”.

“You’d Tommy, Brian and JJ across the half-back line. They’re going to be a massive, massive loss, to have those guys gone out of the dressing room. The experience that they have. It’s going to be a big challenge going forward.”

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