Friday 23 February 2018

Richie Power insists pulsating league final will benefit both teams

Richie Power in action Tipperary
Richie Power in action Tipperary
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

RICHIE POWER has grown accustomed to sweeping success over Tipperary but he conceded that a replay might have been the best outcome from the Allianz League final.

Kilkenny's late winner from TJ Reid ended a game that was as close to championship hurling pace, according to Power, that they have experienced in the league.

"We came out on the right side of it in extra-time but a draw could have been a fair result," he said.

"You saw yourselves what kind of game it was out there, that was as close to championship pace as you're going to get. That's going to stand to both teams no end going into the first round of the championship itself.

"But we'll take the one-point win and push on now for the championship in five weeks' time."

Power acknowledged Kilkenny always felt they were in touch in the game even when they fell six points behind.

"Tipperary got a bit of a run on us in the first half but we regrouped at half-time," he said.

"We were in a far worse position against them in the league in Nowlan Park earlier this year, when we were 10 down.

"We knew what we were capable of if we pushed and pushed, we stuck to it, and it would have been unfair on any team to lose in normal time, but it's still only the league at the end of the day," he cautioned.

"The big prize is in September and I've no doubt, looking at that Tipperary team, they'll be there or thereabouts.

Power admitted the league campaign has been more beneficial to Kilkenny with the number of newcomers they were able to give game time to.

They prevailed without needing to call on Tommy Walsh, Brian Hogan or Aidan Fogarty over the entire 95 minutes played. That doesn't augur well for any of the trio but for Kilkenny it underlines the changing face of their squad.

"Brian (Cody) probably used the league this year more to look at players than in other years. Look at the guys out there like Padraig Walsh and Cillian Buckley, they're really stepping up to the mark. They're putting pressure on the rest of us and that can only be good for us."

Kilkenny will play a challenge match against Clare prior to their opening Leinster championship game against Offaly.

Irish Independent

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