As Kilkenny get ready to face Cork in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland senior camogie championship semi-final, Daragh Ó Conchúir has been speaking with Katie power on her return from injury, getting back to playing with Kilkenny, her quarter-final start against Wexford and what happens next.
Katie Power has admitted that playing her first full game in almost two years for Kilkenny in last Saturday’s All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship quarter-final against Wexford was difficult but expects that it will stand to her if she gets the nod for Sunday’s clash with the Rebels.
The 2019 All-Ireland final defeat to Galway was her last start in the black and amber. A hand operation ruled her out in early 2020 before she broke her kneecap that summer, ruling her out of the winter All-Ireland series.
Now with game time under her belt, she’s expecting the Wexford test to stand to her should she make the lineout in this Sunday’s trip to Croke Park.
Returning to action
The Piltown player was introduced towards the end of the League final victory over the Tribeswomen and came on as a sub in each of the three championship group games throughout before finally getting her hands on a starting berth.
“I was like a deer in headlights for most of the match. It was great to be back out there. I’ve waited a long time. The last two years have been tough going so it’s brilliant to be back out with the girls”, says Power.
“The lads have managed my load unreal. They’ve looked after me. The plan was to try to get 60 minutes into me throughout the group games and try kick on for the quarter-finals.”
“I’ve had a good few weeks since the Galway game under the belt and hopefully the full game will bring me on a small bit. I was fairly rusty but I’m just delighted to be back.”
With an earlier-than-anticipated trip to Croke Park happening this Sunday – a first for the Camogie All-Ireland semi-finals – Power insists that her focus is on the group rather than the individual.
“It is great but at the end of the day if we don’t win it’s not going to mean anything. It’s not about me, it’s about the team, it’s about the panel and it’s getting back to an All-Ireland final. (I’m) trying to take that sentiment out of things I suppose and the emotion, and just focus on the job at hand. We’ve a big job in hand.”
A big job is right. They had enough in the tank at the same stage last year to pull away at the end of the game and leave Cork in Pairc Uí Chaoimh before making the trip to Croke Park to avenge 2019’s defeat.
Both sides contested three finals in a row – all tight – with Kilkenny claiming their first O’Duffy Cup in 22 years back in 2016 before Cork pipped the Cats by a point in both 2017 and 2018. This Sunday’s contest should be an equally tight affair.
Her long-time sister-in-arms, Anne Dalton made a dramatic return to the squad three weeks ago after goalkeeper Emma Kavanagh suffered a knee injury. Given her own history, it’s no wonder Power has sympathy for the long-serving netminder, who had won back her place after losing out to Aoife Norris last year.
“It’s under unforeseen circumstances that Emma is injured”, she says.
“She was back in goal for the last few championship games and absolutely hurling out of her skin. Sport is cruel at times and she got a tough injury, so we needed a sub ‘keeper and who else to call on only The Queen herself. All week, (she’s had) a few little words here and there and she’s a great person to have in and around the dressing room.”