Disappointment tempered by relief, that was the reaction of former Kilkenny great Eddie Keher to the news yesterday that while Richie Power will miss Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A final, the injury he suffered playing for Carrickshock in Saturday’s club game against James Stephens isn’t as bad as first feared.
Knee ligament damage as opposed to the suspected torn cruciate, a prognosis of six to eight weeks on the sidelines.
“It was a huge shock to us that he got injured but the news is a bit better about him now, you’d be talking about him being fit for the championship.
“He has taken over Henry’s mantle while Henry is out injured. We would have expected that Richie would be leading the attack and when Henry came back that they would combine very well.”
It had taken Power a few years to fully realise the potential he had shown as a minor but in the league this year, aged 26, he has finally blossomed. “He got a few injuries,” Eddie points out, “So he was out and it took him a while to get back. There’s no doubting his skill and his performances in the League this year were superb.”
It weakens Kilkenny’s hand considerably for the game against Cork however, reckons Eddie. “My honest opinion is they won’t win, and I’m not bluffing in saying that — I honestly believe we’re not strong enough in the forwards, we won’t get enough scores.
“Even before Richie and after the Clare match (in the semi-final), I was saying we won’t have enough scoring-power. You have good players but you won’t have great players. People say Kilkenny have two teams but that doesn’t happen. You can have plenty of players but you won’t have the quality of Henry Shefflin or Eddie Brennan so easily. We’d be happy with our defence and midfield but we’re definitely in trouble with the forwards. We’d be under severe pressure next Sunday.”
Of all the teams he has seen this year, Cork have most impressed him. “Against Tipp particularly (Cork’s semi-final win) — they have a lot of very classy hurlers. They’re back to the old-style Cork hurling I’ll call it, very classy.”
Of the others, and looking to the championship, the usual contenders. “You’ll have ourselves, Tipp, Clare might be a year later. I was very disappointed with Dublin, they seem to have gone back.
“I know they’re missing a lot of very good players but I really thought they’d be here this year.”
Galway are as inconsistent as ever, the team with all the talent but you never know which team is going to turn up.”
Meanwhile Waterford footballers’ championship hopes have suffered a major blow with news that Gary Hurney has broken his jaw.
The 31-year-old is believed to have broken it in three places after an incident during Ballinacourty’s round two championship game against St Saviours in Walsh Park on Saturday.
He is certainly out of Waterford’s Munster quarter-final clash with Limerick next month.
Galway footballers have received a big boost with Michael Meehan lining out for them at the weekend for the first time since their championship exit to Meath last summer.
Meehan, battling to overcome a complicated ankle injury, played the second-half of a challenge match against Laois and could now be available for the Connacht championship opener against Roscommon on Sunday fortnight.
And in a further boost, Sean Armstrong also returned to action since suffering a leg injury in training in early March. Mulholland and Laois boss Justin McNulty both utilised their squads in the challenge game which was won by Galway.
Meanwhile Wexford hurler Tomas Waters has been ruled out for the entire season with a serious hip injury.
CORK MH (v Limerick): P Collins (Ballinhassig); S Murphy (Blackrock), K O’Connor (Mallow), A Dennehy (Charleville); K McIntyre (Carrigaline), M Cahalane (Bandon), P Fitzgerald (Douglas); C Twomey (Newtownshandrum, B O’Connell (Blarney); J Cashman (Lisgoold), D Cahill (Cloyne), K O’Neill (Watergrasshill), A Sheehan (Mallow), R Cahalane (Ballymartle), P O’Callaghan (Ballyhea). Subs: J McSweeney (Bandon), J McCarthy (Kiltha Óg), D Mangan (St. Catherines), C Cormack (Blackrock), T Horgan (Newcestown), A Spillane (Castlelyons), D Geary (Fermoy), J O’Brien (Charleville), S Hegarty (Kiltha Óg).
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