Saturday 19 January 2019

'hurt of 2010 drove us on'

Power has bit between teeth for duel with Tipp

HOW does it feel? It's the question Tipperary and Kilkenny players were asked ad nauseum after the 2010 All-Ireland hurling final and for weeks after that and for the most part, they couldn't answer properly or honestly.

Tipperary were too thrilled, Kilkenny too devastated to be able to articulate their genuine emotion.

"After the 2010 All-Ireland, everyone was talking about the five in-a-row back then, but it never even crossed my mind," says Richie Power with the benefit of four years of perspective.

"All I remember is sitting on the field with Eoin Kelly lifting the cup and it's one of the worst feelings you can possibly experience."

"And that drives you on, that makes you want to come back stronger the following year.

"I suppose it's been proved by where we are in September...any year you don't win an All-Ireland is looked upon as failure."

Maybe, you venture, Kilkenny wouldn't get so cut up about losing if they had a go at it more often?

"It was no different after last year," Power admits.

"A lot of lads left Thurles last year bitterly disappointed.

"I think a lot of people thought it was maybe the end of this team as well, and I think that has been a driving factor for a lot of guys as well, that hurt a lot of guys and made them come back hungrier and fitter this year.

"I suppose it's been proved by where we are in September, and it's driven into us by management. That philosophy comes from management, that any year you don't win an All-Ireland is looked upon as failure."

The other thing about Kilkenny's ridiculous win rate is that after those days of misery, the rare low notes in an otherwise lavish symphony, retribution is never far away.

"Huge satisfaction was coming back the following year to win," Power confirms of the 2011 final, the last of a thrilling trinity.

"That's what I'd look back on, rather than looking at losing a five in-a-row.

"It was very similar when you look back at 2006 against Cork, those kind of games stick out in your mind, those are the games that hurt, they're the ones you hold in the locker, and you think about them to get that little bit more out of yourself."

Timing, it seems, is Power's friend just now.

It has been a truncated season for him personally but Sunday's final is arriving at just the right point in his oscillating fitness graph of 2014.


First there was the hamstring he picked up against Clara in a club league match that kept Power out of the Leinster opener against Offaly and then there was the posterior cruciate ligament ("a freak injury") he snapped against Galway.

"When I done the knee my aim was to get back for an All-Ireland semi-final if Kilkenny got there, and luckily they did. And luckily I played some part," says Power.

Some part? He played the lead role in two of the most dramatic acts of a watery epic.

First, the goal both he and Eoin Larkin swung for on 56th minute which has yet to be fully resolved.

"Ah, Larky has claimed it for the last couple of weeks but I think video analysis has proven that I got the touch, so I'll take it! It's my first goal in the championship, he's got a few."

And then, on 65 minutes, as he steamed clear of the Limerick cover and apparently, set for his second goal in one championship afternoon, Donal O'Grady did a 'Seán Cavanagh' and scythed Power from behind and bizarrely, escaped any censure.

"I didn't think a Limerick player would get back at me because Seamus Hickey had fallen in front of me," he recalls.

"I thought I had a clear path to goal, I was getting ready to catch the ball and shoot and then I was suddenly on the ground.

"So I didn't have a clue what happened. These things happen in sport, I suppose if Limerick had (sneaked) a goal at the end, Donal would have been a hero.

"There's no point in dwelling on it, there's no point really looking back over it."

All of which is why Power is set to start Sunday's All-Ireland final, the battle for re-installation as hurling's market leaders.


"The hurt from 2010 really drove us on and I suppose that after 2010, everyone was saying that this Tipp team is the new team, that they were going to come through and dominate.

"We were determined not to let that happen, so 2011 was a massive, massive game.

"But it's the same with (next Sunday). We want to win it again."

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