DJ Carey rejected county offers to take role with Kilkenny

DJ Carey rejected county offers to take role with Kilkenny
Former Kilkenny hurler and competition ambassador DJ Carey, front left, with Top Oil representatives and players from participating schools and colleges at the Top Oil Leinster GAA Post Primary Schools Hurling Launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Picture: Seb Daly

New Kilkenny selector DJ Carey has admitted that being threatened with suspension for organising an U20 challenge game last March left a sour taste in his mouth.

The Cats great, who has been upgraded from U20s manager to Brian Cody’s senior setup, said the ban never materialised but the threat of it still greatly frustrated him.

Carey said he was informed that the game was outside of the allotted window for U20 challenge matches and that he could be in trouble.

“We were threatened with suspension for playing a challenge match in March, “said Carey, whose U20s began their campaign in June and went on to win the Leinster title.

“Yeah, the management (were threatened) because you are not allowed to play a challenge match until May with the U20s. Personally, I would class myself as having an exemplary record in the GAA, I would not like to be stepping out of line but come on, you’re training a team to play in a Leinster championship and there are only certain times available because in the month of April your players are gone (to their clubs) so you are trying to get a few matches in March and you are threatened with suspension.

And yet the Kilkenny minor team, who are U17s, probably have the guts of 10 or 12 matches played between challenge and championship at that stage.

Nine-time All-Star Carey said he received a call from Cody regarding the senior role shortly after leaving the U20s though the Gowran man said he initially wasn’t interested. He admitted that the potential presence of two of his sons on the senior panel in the coming seasons was a difficulty.

“I would have been reluctant,” said Carey, recognised as one of Kilkenny’s greatest ever players.

“My younger fella, Mikey, is on the panel and I have another fella who has ambitions, he’s a bit older. Now he didn’t have a good enough year with the club but he would have ambitions about being on the panel too so it is an awkward enough situation there but that wasn’t taken as an excuse so here I am.”

Carey, who has managed Carlow IT’s team, said he wouldn’t accept an offer from any other county other than Kilkenny and revealed he has rejected invitations to manage a number of counties.

“I’ve had a few, it would be a bit unfair to name them but I would have had a few,” said Carey. “At the end of the day, I’m a Kilkenny person, that’s my passion.

I probably would have been asked for a few county teams in the past and I just felt that I would prefer to give my time to my own county, or club. That’s something I believe in.

"There’s no-one can be more passionate than a person over where they are from.

“For me, and I’m talking about for me, if you have to go more than an hour to some place it wouldn’t be for me because it is taking away the passion I would have.”

Carey won three of his five All-Ireland senior medals under Cody, who has been in charge since late 1998, and the Young Irelands club man said that his former mentor remains as passionate about Kilkenny as ever.

“Oh yeah, he’ll be giving out to me now for doing this,” said Carey about the interview. “There’d be a wrap on the knuckles. He’s someone that I played under, he’s someone that I’d admire greatly and now he’s someone I’m going to work with.”

Carey said he feels that Kilkenny, beaten by Tipperary in August’s All-Ireland final, still have some improving to do to regain their position at the top.

“Honestly, I would say Kilkenny did fantastically well to be in an All-Ireland final,” said Carey. “I think it would have been above my expectations. Limerick, Tipp, even Wexford, were hurling seriously well.

“We got to an All-Ireland final — obviously not lacking hurling, of course — but it was with pure grit and determination and in your face, and when I say in your face, I mean going for every ball, tackling for every ball, every ball counts and matters.

“I think we still have to get up to a level. But we have good players, there are good players there, very good players.

Beating Limerick was a huge achievement because I think Limerick are that good, it was massive for us.

- DJ Carey was speaking at the launch of the 2019/2020 Top Oil Leinster GAA Corn Uí Dhuill hurling championship. Top Oil have returned as headline sponsors for all schools activity within Leinster GAA.

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