TJ Reid and Eddie Brennan lead plaudits for Richie Power

Injury forces brilliant Carrickshock forward to end his stellar intercounty career at just 30

Richie Power: celebrates one of his many goals on big days in Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Richie Power: celebrates one of his many goals on big days in Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Hurler of the Year TJ Reid has said that Kilkenny colleague Richie Power’s retirement came as no surprise and revealed how his career was celebrated by close pals a number of months ago.

Reid accompanied eight-time All-Ireland medallist Power and friends to Berlin in November and with Power turning 30 in early December, Reid described the trip as a ‘part birthday, part retirement party’.

Forward Power yesterday confirmed the news publicly, stating that the knee injury which limited him to just over 10 minutes of action with Kilkenny in the whole of 2015 had prompted the decision.

It’s a huge setback for the player as well as Kilkenny’s supporters with former great, Eddie Brennan, suggesting Power had been on track to potentially eclipse Henry Shefflin’s record of 10 All-Ireland wins.

Premature ending

“We went to Berlin last November with a group of Richie’s friends and that was a kind of a part-birthday, part-retirement party for Richie,” said Reid.

“So we knew probably for the last few weeks what was coming, a few of his closer friends, that he was going to retire.

“It was only a matter of time and when exactly he announced it. It’s very sad to see him go especially when a career is ended on an injury. That’s always very hard to take and to accept. He’s only 30 so he definitely had another two or three years there anyway.”

Power missed all of last year’s National League campaign with Kilkenny but returned at the very end of the championship as a 60th minute substitute in the All-Ireland final win over Galway.

“He knew himself I suppose after the All-Ireland final, from a lot of guidance he got from physios and surgeons that he probably had to retire,” said Reid. “Now that it’s all out in the open he can go on and enjoy whatever is the next chapter in his life. But it’s going to be difficult for him I’m sure. I imagine he’ll be constantly saying, ‘I should be there’. If he was 35 or 36, it would be different but he’s a young man who had plenty left to offer.”

Former colleague Brennan, an eight-time All-Ireland medallist like Power, said the Carrickshock man had it all as a hurler and could have won 11 All-Irelands, something that has never been done before.

“I felt it was definitely within his reach,” said Brennan. “Had the body not let him down then he was definitely looking at that target. Of course, it would have been a big ask but certainly the way Kilkenny are going and developing, nobody could have ruled it out.”

Every quality

“He was asked to do a specific job that day, to sacrifice his own game and I thought he was one of the key men,” said Brennan. “Himself and Martin Comerford were brilliant that day, how they created all the space for the likes of myself to get the scores. Richie had every quality that any intercounty player would want to have.”

Meanwhile, former GAA President Sean Kelly has offered timely support to Central Council’s proposal for an All-Ireland ‘B’ championship, suggesting the competition should be named after Kerry great Páidí Ó Sé if introduced.

“I’d be open minded at this stage in terms of naming the competition but Páidí was such an icon of Gaelic football that he really should be considered for it,” said Kelly.

But Central Council’s proposal, revealed last weekend, to direct Division Four teams into a ‘B’ championship once they exit their provincial competition has already met with considerable disapproval.

Wexford manager David Power, whose side are in Division Four this year, claimed it could be a ‘Mickey Mouse competition’ despite the winners gaining a place in the All-Ireland qualifiers next season.

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