Ned Power - A Great Goalkeeper
Probably the best known Waterford player to hurling followers of a certain vintage is Ned Power (1929-2007), who played his club hurling for Dungarvan and Tallow, and as goalkeeper for the Waterford senior hurling team between the years 1957-1966.
Most people remember him because of the famous photograph, a classic action shot that has appeared in numerous locations around the world. The photographer was a man named Louis McMonagle and it was entitled 'Hell's Kitchen'. It's a mixture of 'physical force, danger, speed and pure skill'. It was taken in this stadium on July 8th, 1962 in a Munster semi-final match between Cork and Waterford, which the latter won by 4-10 to 1-16.
The Cork man in the photo is recognisable to any hurling fan – particularly if he/she is from Cork because it is none other than the famous Christy Ring, who died a relatively young man at the age of 58. The Waterford defender he's tangled with in manly embrace is Tom Cunningham, while the third Waterford player in the picture is Austin Flynn.
It seems as if Ned Power is at the top of his game in the picture. In fact he was far from that. He had been dropped from the county side following an uncharacteristically poor display in 1961 and his playing days appeared over. Then after a frustrating year on the sideline he got a phone call that he was wanted again. He gave vent to his feelings and said to the team mentor that 'he must have been the best of a bad lot.' 'So along he came and the months and weeks of pent-up frustration and preparation for this moment launched him into a sparkling display that peaked with that famous leap into the sky, caught magically here for eternity.'
Ned won three Munster finals with Waterford, 1957, 1959 and 1963, one All-Ireland medal in 1959, one National League in 1963 and an Oireachtas medal in 1962.
After his hurling life, Ned Power turned his attention to coaching. He didn't believe that hurlers were dependent on heredity and became a great disciple of coaching. In fact he identified 131 individual skills that are part of the game of hurling. He believed that Kilkenny hurling was so strong because their players had mastered the skills of the game better than any other hurlers.
Ned Power's widow, Gretta, presented his All-Ireland winning medal of 1959, a Munster medal and his Oireachtas medal to Lár na Páirce in November 2013. The museum was thrilled to get this collection which is on display, together with the famous photograph, in a special case.
You can read all about the man, the photograph and how Ned Power brought revolutionary ideas to coaching when his playing days were over in his biography, My Father: A Hurling Revolutionary by Conor Power, which was published in Dungarvan in 2009.
Munster GAA SH Championship Quarter-Final replay at Thurles on June 8, 2014