Kilkenny hurling legend DJ Carey has taken up a key role with the county’s underage footballers.
Five-time All-Ireland SHC winner Carey is now in charge of Kilkenny’s U14 footballers and revealed that more time is devoted to football than hurling in primary schools across the county.
Carey revealed that he contacted county board chairman Ned Quinn to offer his services following the Leinster MFC humiliation at the hands of Wexford in April – when Kilkenny lost by 0-0 to 17-20.
Carey said: “I rang Ned Quinn after the minor debacle and said we’re either going to pull out of football or put teams on the field to compete.
“A couple of weeks ago, and this doesn’t get much publicity, Kilkenny had two teams, East and West, along with teams from Carlow, Laois and Wicklow in a competition. The two Kilkenny teams met in the final.
“Nobody realises but there is no hurling in primary school in Kilkenny between the months of September and March. It’s all football, 100% football.
“At the end of the day, football is a code in the GAA. I don’t see Kilkenny being a major football player, it’s a very small county and hurling is the number one.
“Ok, we say the best footballers in Kilkenny are the hurlers and that may not be true. More time is given to football in primary schools but hurling has been so successful in Kilkenny and everybody wants to hurl.
“But David Herity is now playing football with Kilkenny having given so much time to hurling.
“Richie Power and Kieran Joyce played football at good levels and I won a Leinster B football title with St Kieran’s. The next year, we played in the A competition and were competitive.”
Meanwhile, Carey has insisted that Joe Canning must perform if Galway are to cause an upset against Kilkenny in next Sunday’s Leinster senior hurling final.
But Carey believes that Canning is enjoying some of the best form of his career and “taking the bull by the horns” following the controversial player heave that ousted former boss Anthony Cunningham last year.
Carey explained: “For me, Joe is having his best year in a Galway shirt, taking the bull by the horns.
“It’s a case of: ‘Look, we got rid of Anthony Cunningham as players, we got our own way and now we have to do it.’
“He’s leading the charge hugely.
“But I can’t see other than a massive performance from Joe Canning for Galway to win this match. That’s a lot of pressure on one guy but that’s how it will be unless others come out of the woodwork on a consistent basis.
“Galway will come into the match and think they can beat Kilkenny, and they possibly will, but they have to do it on a consistent basis.
“This is a well-established Galway team but they need to start winning something and hurling on a consistent basis.”