Born in Carrickshock, County Kilkenny, Rice first played competitive hurling during his schooling at St. Kieran's College. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of seventeen when he first linked up with the Kilkenny minor team captaining them to an allireland final, before later joining the under-21 side. He joined the senior panel during the 2005 championship. Rice subsequently became a regular member of the starting fifteen and has since won two All-Ireland medals, six Leinster medals and two National Hurling League medals on the field of play. He has been an All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion.
At international level Rice has played for the composite rules shinty-hurling team, captaining his country to the title in 2011. As a member of the Leinster inter-provincial team on a number of occasions, he has won three Railway Cup medals. At club level Rice is a one-time Leinster medallist in the intermediate grade with Carrickshock. In addition to this he has also won one championship medal.
During his schooling at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, Rice established himself as a key member of the senior hurling team. In 2000 he was a non-playing substitute as St. Kieran's claimed both the Leinster and All-Ireland titles.
Two years Rice he won his second Leinster medal, his first on the field of play, following a 1–15 to 2–3 defeat of city rivals CBS Kilkenny.
After much success at underage levels, including several minor and under-21 championships, Rice quickly joined the Ballyhale Shamrocks senior team.
In 2004 Rice won a county intermediate championship medal with Carrickshock following a narrow 0–14 to 1–10 defeat of Mooncoin. He later won a Leinster intermediate winners' medal as Carrickshock defeated St Patrick's of Wexford by 2–16 to 0–7 in the inaugural provincial decider. Power's side were subsequently defeated by Kildangan in the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Championship decider.
Rice first played for Kilkenny at the turn of the century when he joined the minor side. He won his first Leinster medal in 2001 following a 3–16 to 1–9 trouncing of Wexford.
After being named captain of the team in 2002, Rice added a second Leinster medal to his collection following a 2–15 to 2–8 defeat of Wexford once again. Kilkenny subsequently faced Tipperary in the All-Ireland decider. A tour de force by "the Cats" gave them a huge 3–15 to 1–7 victory and gave Rice an All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship medal.
By 2003 Rice was a key member of the Kilkenny under-21 team. He won his first Leinster medal that year following a 0–12 to 1–4 defeat of Dublin. Kilkenny later faced Galway in the All-Ireland decider. "The Cats" outsmarted a Galway side which struggled in attack and conceded a goal a minute into the second half. The 2–13 to 0–12 score line gave Rice his first All-Ireland medal in the grade.
The following year Rice collected a second Leinster under-21 medal, as Wexford were downed by 0–16 to 2–3. The subsequent All-Ireland final between Kilkenny and old rivals Tipperary was a total mismatch. "The Cats" scored key goals early in the opening half, which helped power them to a 3–21 to 1–6 victory. Rice, who started the game on the bench, was introduced as a substitute and collected a second All-Ireland medal on the field of play.
Rice added a third successive Leinster medal to his collection in 2005, following a 0–17 to 1–10 defeat of Dublin. Kilkenny's bid for a third successive All-Ireland title ended in dramatic fashion as a late point from Kerril Wade handed Galway a narrow 1–15 to 1–14 victory.
Rice joined the Kilkenny senior team in 2005, however, he was unused as an unused substitute during the championship campaign.
On 10 June 2006 Rice made his senior championship debut when he came on as a substitute in a 1–23 to 1–9 Leinster semi-final defeat of Westmeath. He started the subsequent provincial decider and collected his first Leinster medal following a facile 1–23 to 1–12 victory over Wexford. After making an appearance in the subsequent All-Ireland quarter and semi-final victories, he remained on the bench for Kilkenny's 1–16 to 1–13 All-Ireland defeat of Cork.
Rice's championship appearances in 2007 were also sporadic. He came on as a substitute to collect a second Leinster medal following a 2–24 to 1–12 defeat of Wexford. He remained confined to the bench for Kilkenny's subsequent games, including a 2–19 to 1–15 All-Ireland final defeat of Limerick.
In 2008 Rice's role on the Kilkenny team was still as an impact sub. He came off the bench to collect a third successive Leinster medal that year as Wexford were defeated by 5–21 to 0–17. After making a late appearance in the All-Ireland semi-final, Rice was sidelined once again for the subsequent 3–30 to 1–13 walloping of Waterford in the final.
Rice won a first National Hurling League medal on the field of play in 2009, as Kilkenny beat Tipperary by 2–26 to 4–17 with a thrilling extra-time victory. He later won a fourth successive Leinster medal, as new challengers Dublin were bested by 2–18 to 0–18. On 6 September Rice was at midfield as Kilkenny were poised to become the second team ever in the history of hurling to win four successive All-Ireland championships when they faced Tipperary in the decider. For long periods Tipp looked the likely winners, however, late goals from Henry Shefflin and substitute Martin Comerford finally killed off their efforts to secure a 2–22 to 0–23 victory. Rice had collected his first All-Ireland medal. He later collected a first All-Star award.
In 2010 Kilkenny defeated Galway in an eagerly-anticipated but ultimately disappointing provincial decider. A 1–19 to 1–12 victory gave Rice a fifth Leinster medal. The drive for a fifth successive All-Ireland crown reached a head on 5 September 2010, when Kilkenny faced Tipperary in the All-Ireland decider. "The Cats" lost talisman Henry Shefflin due to injury, while Tipperary's Lar Corbett ran riot and scored a hat-trick of goals as Rice's side fell to a 4–17 to 1–18 defeat.
Kilkenny's stranglehold in Leinster continued in 2011. A 4–17 to 1–15 defeat of Dublin gave "the Cats" a record-equalling seventh successive championship. It was Rice's sixth winners' medal overall. Kilkenny subsequently faced Tipperary in a record-breaking seventh successive All-Ireland decider on 4 September 2011. Goals by Michael Fennelly and Richie Hogan in either half gave Kilkenny, who many viewed as the underdogs going into the game, a 2–17 to 1–16 victory. Rice collected a second All-Ireland medal on the field of play, while he later collected a second All-Star award.
After being shocked by Galway in the Leinster decider, Kilkenny took the circuitous route in an effort to retain their All-Ireland crown. In the All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Tipperary, Rice suffered several fractures as well as tendon damage to his right hand after a clash with Pádraic Maher. The injury ruled Rice out of Kilkenny's subsequent All-Ireland final draw and replay defeat of Galway.
Kilkenny's dominance showed no sign of abating in 2013, with Rice winning a second league medal following a 2–17 to 0–20 defeat of Tipperary in the decider.
Rice sat out the league campaign in 2014, however, at a training camp prior to the start of the championship Rice suffered a cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out of Kilkenny's All-Ireland-winning campaign once again.
In 2008 Rice was picked for duty with Leinster for the first time, as the inter-provincial team faced Munster in the decider. Richie Power top-scored with nine points as Leinster secured a 1–15 to 1–12 victory. It was Rice's first Railway Cup medal.
Leinster made it two-in-a-row in 2009, with Rice collecting his second winner's medal as Leinster defeated Connacht by 3–18 to 1–17.
After a two-year hiatus and a period of uncertainty surrounding the competition, the Railway Cup returned in 2012 with Leinster facing Connacht in the decider once again. The game was effectively over at half time, with Leinster powering to an eventual 2–19 to 1–15 victory.St. Kieran's College
All-Ireland Colleges Senior Hurling Championship (1): 2000 (sub)
Leinster Colleges Senior Hurling Championship (2): 2000 (sub), 2002
Leinster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship (1): 2004
Kilkenny Intermediate Hurling Championship (1): 2004
Kilkenny Under-21 B Hurling Championship (1): 2000
Kilkenny Minor Hurling Championship (2): 2001, 2002
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (2): 2009, 2011
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship (6): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
National Hurling League (1): 2009
All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship (1): 2004
Leinster Under-21 Hurling Championship (1): 2004, 2005
All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship (1): 2002
Leinster Minor Hurling Championship (2): 2001, 2002
Railway Cup (3): 2008, 2009, 2012