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'Winning a tenth All-Ireland for Henry would be monumental' - Richie Power

The Kilkenny legend is one game away from bringing his All-Ireland senior medals into double figures.

Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

KILKENNY ACE RICHIE Power has admitted that helping Henry Shefflin to a tenth All-Ireland title is a motivating factor for the Cats as they take on Tipperary on Sunday.

Shefflin is on the verge of achieving a unique feat in the GAA after over a decade at the top of the game. Although their focus will remain on winning the game, Power says it will be something they can proudly reflect on should Sunday’s result go their way.

“It’s huge. There’s not enough words in the vocabulary I can use to describe Henry and it’d be monumental for him to reach that goal. But I know Henry and I know it’s probably not even on his mind,” he said.

“He’s in there every night, he’s training as hard as anyone, pushing as hard as anyone for a starting place and he’ll do whatever he can to push this team over the line like everyone else will.

“If we can do that (help him to his tenth title) we can kind of have a look at it afterwards and we can talk it up and that afterwards but until we get him over the line, we can’t pay much homage to it.”

Richie Power and Nickie Quaid Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Power is happy to find himself back on familiar territory. Last year was only his second since joining the Kilkenny senior panel in 2005 not to find himself preparing for Croke Park on the first week of September.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s fantastic. As Brian says to us, an All-Ireland is there to be enjoyed as well and it has to be enjoyed a little bit. But at the end of the day the flags and everything, it doesn’t mean anything come the 7th of September if you’re coming home on the Monday without the Liam MacCarthy.

“That’s our aim and that’s what we want to do. We’ve great support behind us and we’ve always had that and I know that we’ll have it there on the day as well. It’s just a matter of getting ourselves right and if we’re right we’ll go and we’ll give a good account for ourselves,” he added.

Less than twelve months ago, Kilkenny were dismissed from the championship by a sprightly Cork side, but since then they’ve made light of suggestions they are past it as a major force.

Power alludes to the sense of hurt they felt after that defeat, and how they were determined not to let it bury them.

“Cork bet us on the day and deservedly so and we’ve no complaints on the day. I suppose it was a motivating factor that a lot of people were writing this team off, maybe saying it’s the end of this team and I think that hurt a lot of guys.

William Egan tackles Colin Fennelly Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Leaving Thurles that day a lot of guys made the promise to themselves that this isn’t going to be the end and thankfully it’s not and we’re back to where we want to be.

“That’s where every player at the beginning of the year wants to be on the first Sunday in September and we’re there but it’s going to be seen as a failure of a year if we don’t bring Liam home. That’s exactly what we’re going to try and do over the next couple of weeks, get ourselves into as good a position and condition as we possibly can to give it our all.”

The Power clan are synonymous with Kilkenny hurling. One Richie’s earliest memories is watching his Dad, Richie Snr, win the All-Ireland with the Cats in 1992. And his brother John, also a member of Cody’s squad, will be hoping to become the third man in the house to win a senior All-Ireland medal.

“When Dad was involved back in ’92 it was brilliant. I’ve vague memories of it but it’s great to have Dad there and obviously have John there as well with me.

“To have the two of us going up on the day, I’m sure it’s going to be a proud day for Mam and Dad and hopefully we can bring two medals back to the house.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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