RICHIE POWER is adamant that Henry Shefflin will come back "stronger than ever" from his imminent knee operation -- and he's also convinced that Kilkenny boss Brian Cody will do likewise after this year's 'drive for five' crashed at the last bend.
Cody is taking his trademark September stance of letting the dust settle for a couple of months before confirming his inevitable return. This year is different than the recent norm -- the manager is trying to pick up the pieces after this year's All-Ireland final defeat -- but Power is sure he'll be back for a 13th season.
"Oh definitely. I have no doubt that he will," said the prolific full-forward, speaking in Dublin after receiving his Opel GPA hurler of the month award for August. "We're all hoping he does stay on. I think there is only one player, Michael Kavanagh, that has played under a different manager, in 1998 under Kevin Fennelly.
"Brian's record speaks for itself. I am sure he is planning for next year. The defeat (to Tipperary) will have hit him hard and hurt him as much as it hurt the players. But he will be back stronger and will definitely freshen things up next year."
Power was equally upbeat on the prospects of Shefflin making a full recovery from the second cruciate ligament injury of his career: his 'miracle' comeback to play in the All-Ireland final lasted only 13 minutes and he's due to undergo reconstructive knee surgery shortly.
"Henry was unfortunate after what he put his body through to get himself right to play in that All-Ireland. I don't think anyone will ever know the full extent that he pushed himself to. Just like John Tennyson," the Carrickshock clubman said.
"I have no doubt that he will come back stronger than ever because that is the way Henry is. He has proven that over previous years. He came back stronger than ever after his last cruciate operation."
Looking back on Kilkenny's quest for that elusive five-timer, Power admitted: "The whole five-in-a-row thing was at the back of everyone's mind. It would have been nice, but I don't think we will ever see another attempt at it -- or I won't anyway."
At the same function, Tipperary's Lar Corbett received the GPA player of the month award for September following his hat-trick heroics against Kilkenny, while the football awards went to Dublin's Bernard Brogan (August) and Cork's Daniel Goulding (September).