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Richie Power has struggled to come to terms with his inter-county retirement and admits he would give up one or two of his All-Ireland SHC medals to still be playing.
Power had little choice but to call time on his inter-county career when he underwent knee surgery - his third operation in the space of ten months, just weeks after picking up an eighth Celtic Cross last September.
The Carrickshock managed just 12 minutes in Kilkenny's final defeat of Galway but he has not played since and he admits it has been a difficult adjustment.
“It has been hard. Personally, it’s been very tough to adapt to not being part of an inter-county set-up and not even being able to train, full stop. It really hit home for the first round of the league down in Waterford at Walsh Park," Power is quoted as saying in the Irish Examiner.
“I went down with Rory, my son, and I was standing on the bank watching and I just kind of realised that this is it for me. I had done that in the past but I’d always known that I’d get back later in the year. Obviously I miss it. Your whole life is turned upside down."
Having represented the county at minor and under-21 level, Power made his senior debut for Kilkenny during the 2005 league campaign and immediately became a regular member of the starting fifteen.
During his 11-year senior career, he won eight All-Ireland medals, five Leinster medals and three National League medals, while he was an All-Star in 2010 and 2011.
“Obviously in years to come I can look back and smile and be happy about what I achieved,” Power said.
“I suppose the downside for me is that I’m looking at a knee replacement in maybe 10 or 15 years’ time. Obviously, yeah, it’s a high price to pay from that point of view but I suppose then you were playing at the highest level.
“You’re going to get these knocks and bruises and bumps. Would I like to have a fully functioning knee? Absolutely. Would I change my career? I don’t think so. The success that we had, it was fantastic. I suppose it’s a price I kind of have to pay on a personal level.”
Power will be at Croke Park to watch his former team-mates take on Tipperary in Sunday's All-Ireland final and is expecting a close match at GAA headquarters.
“I think if Kilkenny can stop Tipperary scoring goals then they have an unbelievable chance of winning,” Power said. “But how do you do that? They got two goals in the space of 60 seconds against Galway. That’s the ability they have. The forward line that Tipp have, if that hits fire then that’s your match winner right there.
“I think the match-ups are going to be crucial. Brian Cody has proven in the past that he can get the match-ups right but I am sure Michael Ryan as Tipperary manager is going to have his homework done as well.”
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