Richie Power admits that the departure of Mick Dempsey is a big blow to Kilkenny but he believes that the former physical trainer and selector has left a platform the Cats can build on in years to come.

Laois native Dempsey's link-up with Kilkenny in 2005 helped Brian Cody to launch a golden age for the county that secured eight All-Ireland titles over the following 10 years, including four in a row from 2005-09.

Dempsey also has busy roles with Carlow IT and Leinster GAA and it had been widely expected in the county that this year could be his last.

Following confirmation he would be stepping down, Power, who was a key member of the sparkling forward line in those eight title wins, paid tribute to Dempsey's part in the team's exploits.

"He's a huge loss," he told RTÉ Sport. "Mick has been a focal point of Kilkenny's success over the last 10-15 years, and he has laid the foundations for something really solid going forward.

"I don’t think he could have done any more for Kilkenny than he did and people will never realise the amount of work he did behind the scenes.

"He has given a lot of his time to Kilkenny GAA and he’s moving on to the next challenge. All you can do is wish him luck."

Richie Power escapes Kieran Bergin in the 2014 final replay

Power, who will be an analyst on RTÉ2's live coverage of the Kilkenny SHC on Saturday, has first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of Dempsey's training.

"Mick as a footballer prided himself on being very fit and he brought that intensity to training. He brought different ideas.

"The fitness levels, physicality and physique of the players in the Kilkenny set-up changed drastically when Mick got involved.

"I wouldn't have been the biggest advocate of fitness work. Mick would have been on my case to push myself a little bit more.

"But everything he did was for the good of Kilkenny hurling and everything he did was to get me in the best shape I could be in."

Thoughts now turn to who will succeed Dempsey, and reportedly Derek Lyng, as a selector, as Cody seeks to combine the greatest wealth of inter-county management experience around with some new advice. 

"He’s leaving it in a very strong position and it will be up to the next guy to take it to the next level," said Power of Dempsey.

"Sometimes you need to freshen things up and reinvent yourself. That’s what the new guy will do and it can only be positive for Kilkenny.

"A new face around the place and new ideas can be a very good injection into the setup.

"Coming off the back of a defeat in a final that Kilkenny weren’t expected to get to, if someone can come in and bring new ideas it might just catapault us to the next level.

"The man in charge isn’t going anywhere soon. His 22nd season as manager, it’s a phenomenal statistic.

"He’ll be looking to bring in fresh faces into the backroom team."

Carrickshock man Power hung up his boots three years ago and took his first steps in coaching with the Offaly senior camogie team last season, stepping in as manager to secure a crucial win in their final Championship game against Wexford, and staving off the threat of a relegation play-off.

He won't be back with Offaly next year but isn't ruling out a further foray into management.

"If the right job comes on down the line it's something I would consider but at the moment I'm happy enough."

Watch Dicksboro v Erins Own and Clara v Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Kilkenny SHC live on RTÉ2 from 2.45pm on Saturday