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'I wouldn't wish last year on anyone', says Power

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St Jude’s trio Kevin McManamon, Tom Devlin and Brendan McManamon with Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Power along with St Jude’s clubmen Oisín O’Donnell, Dave O’Hara and Seán Brehony at the Volkswagen All-Ireland Junior Hurling Sevens launch. Photo: Sportsfile

St Jude’s trio Kevin McManamon, Tom Devlin and Brendan McManamon with Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Power along with St Jude’s clubmen Oisín O’Donnell, Dave O’Hara and Seán Brehony at the Volkswagen All-Ireland Junior Hurling Sevens launch. Photo: Sportsfile

St Jude’s trio Kevin McManamon, Tom Devlin and Brendan McManamon with Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Power along with St Jude’s clubmen Oisín O’Donnell, Dave O’Hara and Seán Brehony at the Volkswagen All-Ireland Junior Hurling Sevens launch. Photo: Sportsfile

Richie Power has opened up about his bittersweet swansong campaign in a Kilkenny jersey, when his Battle of Wounded Knee reduced him to a solitary 12-minute All-Ireland final cameo.

This is a strange week for Power, looking ahead to September's SHC showpiece as a spectator, not a participant. And it comes after a "hard" year as the 30-year-old adjusted to his new enforced status as a retired county hurler.

"The year I had last year I wouldn't wish it on anyone," he said at yesterday's All-Ireland Junior Hurling Sevens launch.

"To get back for 12 minutes of inter-county hurling for the whole year ... sometimes I've thought to myself would I have been better off just taking last year completely off?" he added.

"Just resting the leg and hopefully getting back at it again this year.

"Obviously you look at all these different scenarios and things might have worked out differently ... but at the end of the day I got back for those 12 minutes, it was a great way to finish.

"I obviously didn't think it was going to be my last time wearing a Kilkenny jersey."

Problems

Power's knee problems began at 16, when he underwent the first of six operations. He tore his posterior cruciate ligament in 2014, against Galway in Tullamore - "the day it started for me".

Last year he had three operations in 10 months, the last of which confirmed the worst.

Wear-and-tear has left him with no cartilage in his left knee, "so pretty much it's bone on bone".

"If I had been told in January (2015) that I needed to give the leg a break for 12 months I would have done it.

"If you had to sacrifice 12 months for 12 minutes, to get an extra two or three years, you'd do it.

"But that's hearsay," he accepted, adding: "You can blame people if you want - personally I don't."

He said it has been "very tough" adapting to life outside the inter-county bubble and "not being able to train, full stop. It kind of really hit home for the first league game down in Waterford. I went down with Rory, my son, and I was standing on the bank and I just kind of realised that this is it.

"Obviously you miss it. Your whole life is turned upside down. You can't even go back and be involved with the club team so you're isolated from two groups of players rather than just one. There's only so much rehab in a gym that you can do."

Through his brother John, Richie retains a strong familial connection with Brian Cody's squad. "If Kilkenny can stop Tipp from scoring goals, I think they have an unbelievable chance. But how do you do that?" he conceded.

Beyond Sunday, as his leg gets stronger, he is "definitely hoping to get back with Carrickshock next year" - at whatever level his knee allows.


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