Joy turns to concern as all wonder about welfare of Power

John Knox

WHAT should have been a story of celebration for influential Kilkenny star, Richie Power, and his colleagues was turned into a real downer when the star attacker was carried off on a stretcher at the finish of this senior hurling league tie.

Power looked in a bit of trouble when he hit the ground hard and failed to move for minutes after attempting to field a high ball with no more than a minute of normal time remaining. He was eventually carried to the sideline area before a people carrier car was brought on to the pitch and the player was rushed to St Luke’s hospital, Kilkenny.

Power had been a hugely and influential force in the downing of championship kings, James Stephens, in this first round tie at well attended Thomastown on Saturday. Apart from shooting seven points, he showed genuine All-Stars ability in the winning and using of possession, and in the way he brought others into play.

Put simply, Carrickshock would not have won without him!

Hugely important

“That was an awful way to finish the game,” said Carrickshock manager, Brendan Fennelly afterwards. “The main thing now is that Richie is okay. He is a hugely important player for us, and Kilkenny too, and he is getting better and better in all aspects of the game. We fear the worst and are hoping for the best.”

The first outing of any season can be difficult for champions, and so it was for ’Stephens, who failed to score even one point from play. In fairness, their defence was good, as was their spirit, and they put in a mighty late effort to save the game.

Substitute John Butler closed out Carrickshock’s account in the 53rd minute with a nice point after the hugely impressive, John Power, had an attempt for a score blocked down (1-15 to 1-7). It looked game over!

Not from a ’Stephens point of view. They showed great heart and determination as they drove for the line with all their might, with top scorer Eoin Larkin leading the way up front and Jackie Tyrrell powering things on from the back.

They out-scored the opposition by 1-4 to no score during the closing seven minutes to end up an agonising one point short of sharing the spoils.

“You get the same for winning by one point as 10,” said Brendan Fennelly of the win. “We played well in places. Some of our hurling was very good. We did well in the first half, considering we gave away an early goal. We hit them for six scores without replay at one stage coming up to half-time.

“We worked very hard during the opening 20 minutes of the second half. We died a bit after that. Maybe it was a shortage of fitness or whatever, but things began to go wrong on us. This is a very hard group, and we have a lot of difficult game coming up so it was good to start with a win.”

’Stephens opened against the wind and playing into the town end goal. Their first strike of the new season was a big one, a nice goal from 12 metres by Jack McGrath after Matthew Ruth had won good ball on the ‘40’ before going on a strong run into the danger area to create the score. Two minutes were showing on the clock.

Took long route

The ’Shock took the long route back to parity. A pair of pointed frees from Richie Power were followed by the equaliser from Shane Power in the 10th minute after Mark O’Dwyer fielded a good high ball before making a telling pass.

Twice subsequently the teams traded points before the winners hit a purple patch and shot six points without reply. The good run was started with an exceptional score from John Power. It was extended with contributions from Richie Power (3), John Tennyson and Richie Power again to leave the losers 1-2 to 0-11 behind.

’Stephens were under fair pressure as the opposition got a strong rhythm going. Their lone chance during this period came in the 25th minute when a drive by Eoin Larkin created an opening for Jack McGrath, but goalie Patrick Farrell moved swiftly off his line and saved well.

The ’Shock were really on song, and their 11 scores were accumulated without registering one wide.

Before the break Eoin Larkin pointed a free from 60-metres to leave the half-time score 0-11 to 1-3.

The second half was barely 20 seconds old when Carrickshock had the sliotar in the net. Richie Power picked up possession from the breaking ball after the throw-in and charged through the heart of the opposing defence.

He thundered on and on before releasing a pass to John Power on his left as he passed the ‘21’. John’s well struck low shot was saved. Michael Rohan was on hand to finish to the net from close range.

Donnacha Cody pointed a massive free from all of 80-metres as ’Stephens hit back smartly. Eoin Larkin then converted a difficult free from distance near the right sideline (1-11 to 1-5).

Imposed himself on game

Richie Power hit back for a minor for the winners. Power began to impose himself on the game in a big way, and a number of his angled drives helped bring John Power at top of the left into the game in a serious way. The latter Power’s confidence was boosted by a sweet point from a bad angle on the left in the 37th minute, but on top of that single score in the half, he turned in a good shift in terms of hurling.

The next four points were equally divided, which left Carrickshock 1-15 to 1-7 ahead going into the closing seven minutes. Proud ’Stephens never gave in. Eoin Larkin continued to pile up the points, and he made the 61st minute goal for sub Mark Hoban that left them with hope.

The clock ran too fast for them in the end, with Eoin Larkin registering the final score in the 67th minute, the additional time being added because of the Power injury.

This was a most encouraging start for Carrickshock, but the Richie Power injury left people in a state of confusion afterwards because of their concern for the player. We all wish him well!

Richie was the star of the show, followed closely by John Dalton, who was wonderful in defence, John Power, a deep lying Jamie Power in the second half, Pat and John Tennyson, David Franks and goalie Patrick Farrell, who did a few nice things when called up.

The best of ’Stephens was seen from Eoin Larkin, their main man, Jackie Tyrrell, tigerish wing-backs, Conor McQuillan and Ray Cody, and goalie Derrick Brennan, who made two good saves and whose movement off the line was impressive.

Carrickshock – Patrick Farrell, Luke Gaule, Richard Frisby, David Franks, Niall Tennyson, John Dalton, Pat Tennyson, John Tennyson, John Cahill, Mark O’Dwyer, Shane Power, Jamie Power, Michael Rohan, Richie Power, John Power (Stoneyford). Subs – John Butler for S. Power; William Hoyne for John Power (inj); John Power (Lismatigue) for R. Power (inj).

James Stephens – Derrick Brennan, Niall McQuillan, Jackie Tyrrell, John Comerford, Conor McQuillan, Donnacha Cody (capt), Ray Cody, Niall Tyrrell, David McCormack, Richie Hayes, Eoin Larkin, Diarmuid Cody, Jack McGrath, Matthew Ruth, David Walton. Subs – Tomas O’Dowd for J. McGrath; Anthony Lalor for Diarmuid Cody; Mark Hoban for R. Hayes.

Referee – John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).