Richie Power came on for Kilkenny with the game in the melting-pot yesterday, the Carrickshock attacker slotting into the full-forward line as usual. Given how little he’s played, it was nothing short of a miracle.
“I only got back training two weeks ago, it’s been a frustrating year,” said Power with some understatement.
“I had a couple of keyhole surgeries but just couldn’t get it right. Thankfully it’s good now, special credit goes to Dr Tadhg O’Sullivan in the Whitfield Clinic, and to our own physios - morning, noon and night they did whatever they could for me, and thankfully it paid off.
“It’s a chronic knee injury, I’ve had five keyhole surgeries on it and there’s very little left in there, unfortunately. It’ll take a long winter of building it up and hopefully coming back fitter and stronger next year.” Given the torture of the summer, seeing action in the autumn was more than welcome.
“It meant everything, it didn’t look likely three or four weeks ago. I thought after surgery I’d be back for the Waterford game but it just never came right for me. I had a lot of injections and that, but obviously it meant everything to me.
“I said to Brian (Cody) during the week that anything I could do to help I was more than willing to do, whether that was one minute or fifteen or twenty, I was more than happy to come on.” It was an extraordinary contribution given he last saw competitive action in April, though he was always confident he had something to contribute to the cause.
“Two weeks ago was probably the first time I got back out on the field, I’ve had no game time since we played club against James Stephens and that was probably five months ago. I’ve spent the last five months in the gym every night of the week trying to get it right, and thankfully, whatever the Man above did, it came right for me at the right time and we pulled it off today.
“I was (confident), when I got back two weeks ago I knew I was in good enough shape, it was just about getting the first touch right and getting some hurling training done. I knew if I could do that I knew there could be fifteen, twenty minutes in me.” His father won All-Ireland medals for Kilkenny, of course, and the bloodline continues in his own son Ruairi, who could be seen on the field of play as the Cats celebrated yet another victory yesterday.
“I spoke to him this morning and he said to come over to him after the match, win, lose or draw. It’s great for him, he’s six now so he’s able to take it all in. He’s had a good couple of years.” He has. He might have a few good ones ahead of him as well.