D. J. Carey

D. J. Carey
Personal information
Irish name Donncha Seosamh Ó Ciara
Sport Hurling
Position Left wing-forward
Born (1970-11-11) 11 November 1970
Gowran, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Nickname The Dodger
Occupation Businessman
Years Club
1988–2013 Young Irelands
Club titles
Kilkenny titles 2
Years County Apps (scores)
1989–2006 Kilkenny 57 (34–195)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 10
All-Irelands 5
All Stars 9
**Inter County team apps and scores correct as of (16:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)).

Denis Joseph "D. J." Carey (born 11 November 1970) is an Irish retired hurler who played as a left wing-forward for the Kilkenny senior team.[1][2][3]

Born in Gowran, County Kilkenny, Carey first excelled at hurling whilst at school in 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, before later lining out with the under-21 side. He made his senior debut in the 1989-90 National Hurling League. Carey went on to play a key part for Kilkenny over the next decade and a half, and won five All-Ireland medals, ten Leinster medals and four National Hurling League medals.[4][5] He was an All-Ireland runner-up on three occasions.

As a member of the Leinster inter-provincial team at various times, Carey won two Railway Cup medals. At club level he won two Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship medals with Young Irelands.

Carey's career tally of 34 goals and 195 points ranks him as Kilkenny's third highest championship scorer of all-time.

Throughout his career Carey made 57 championship appearances.[6] He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling on 1 June 2006.[7][8][9]

Carey's granduncle, Paddy Phelan, is regarded as one of the greatest hurlers of all-time and won four All-Ireland medals with Kilkenny. His aunt, Peggy Carey, won four All-Ireland medal with the Kilkenny camogie team. Carey's brother, Martin, was sub goalkeeper on the Kilkenny for a number of years.

Carey is widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game. During his playing days he won nine All-Star awards, as well as being named Texaco Hurler of the Year on two occasions. He has been repeatedly voted onto teams made up of the sport's greats, including on the Kilkenny Hurling Team of the Century in 2000 and on a special Leinster Hurling Team (1984-2009). Carey's omission from the Hurling Team of the Millennium was seen as controversial at the time.[10]

In retirement from playing Carey has become involved in team management and coaching. At club level he has trained the Young Irelands junior hurling team, while he has also served as hurling coach at Carlow Institute of Technology.


Denis Joseph Carey was born in Kilkenny, in 1970. He was born into a large family, with three brothers and three sisters. One of his sisters, Catriona, is a star player on the Irish field hockey team, as well as being part of the Kilkenny senior camogie team. His brother, Martin Carey, was also a member of the Kilkenny hurling panel as a substitute goalkeeper for a number of years. Carey was always destined to be a hurler as many of his relatives had already shown great skill at the game. His aunt, Peggy Carey, won four All-Ireland camogie titles with Kilkenny and his granduncle, Paddy Phelan, was an iconic hurler of the 1930s and was selected on the GAA Hurling Team of the Century and the GAA Team of The Millennium.

Carey was educated at St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny where his hurling skills were first developed. Ironically, when he had the choice of playing either hurling or football at under-12 level with Kilkenny, Carey chose football. When it became apparent to him that football was the lesser of the two Gaelic games in Kilkenny, Carey soon made the switch to hurling. The 1970s and 1980s were great years for Kilkenny hurling, and stars of that period like Eddie Keher, Frank Cummins and Billy Fitzpatrick were a big influence on the young hurler. Carey later studied at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, further and he won back-to-back All-Ireland colleges' titles in 1988 and 1989.[11]

Carey's big achievement outside sport is his successful business venture D.J. Carey Enterprises.[12] Based in his home village of Gowran, this is a wholesale company that sells hygiene products to other businesses. Carey's private life, involving his wife and two children, had long been the subject of intense media scrutiny and rumour. News of the breakdown of his seven-year marriage hit the headlines shortly before the All-Ireland final in 2003 although Carey and his wife had been separated for more than a year. A year later Carey spoke for the first time about the marriage break-down and of finding new love with British-born millionairess Sarah Newman.[13] Carey has also been lauded for his tireless charity work at home and abroad.[14]

Playing career


Carey plays his club hurling with Young Irelands and has enjoyed much success in a career that has spanned four decades.

In 1992 Young Irelands faced Conahy Shamrocks in the final of the intermediate championship. The victory was achieved in part without the services of Carey who shipped a heavy knock late in the first half and was concussed. He did play on but had to be assisted off the field in the 54th minute. A 2-12 to 1-7 victory gave Carey a coveted intermediate championship medal.[15]

After struggling in the top grade for a number of years, Young Irelands reached the championship decider in 1996 where they faced James Stephens. In what many considered to be one of the best finals in years, Carey and feloow forward Charlie Carter scored key goals which secured a 2-10 to 0-16 draw. The replay attracted an almost capacity crowd of 18,000 to Nowlan Park. Young Irelands took a nine-point lead at the interval and secured a 3-9 to 2-10 victory over James Stephens. It was Carey's first championship medal.[16]

After failing to retain their championship crown the following year, it was 2002 before Young Irelands reached the senior decider. Carey played a key role, scoring 2-7 and setting up a third goal for Dick Carroll, as Young Irelands secured a 3-14 to 1-15 defeat of Dunnamaggin.[17]

Carey played his last match for Young Irelands in 2007 in a relegation play-off against Mullinavat.

After four years away from the club scene Carey returned as a member of the Young Irelands junior team. He began as a goalkeeper before taking up his more regular position in the full-forward line.[18]

Minor & under-21

Carey first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Kilkenny minor hurling team. He narrowly missed out on a place on the team in 1987, however, he became a full member of the team in 1988. That year Carey won a Leinster medal following a 2–16 to 0–6 trouncing of Offaly. on 4 September 1988 he lined out against archrivals Cork in the All-Ireland decider. Kilkenny's ability to score goals proved crucial and at the full-time whistle they were the 3-13 to 0-12 winners. The victory gave Carey a coveted All-Ireland medal.

Carey subsequently joined the county under-21 panel with whom he won a Leinster medal in 1990, after a 2–9 to 1–10 defeat of Laois. The subsequent All-Ireland final pitted "the Cats" against near neighbours and rivals Tipperary. Another close game developed, however, Kilkenny's goal-scoring ability proved the difference. A final score of 2–11 to 1–11 gave Carey an All-Ireland medal in the under-21 grade.


By this stage Carey was also a member of the Kilkenny senior team. He made his debut in the 1988–1989 National Hurling League, a campaign which resulted in Carey collecting his first national title as Kilkenny became league champions.[19] Several weeks after this win he made his championship debut, however, Offaly emerged victorious on that occasion whiule Kilkenny exited the championship at an early stage.

In 1991 Kilkenny bounced back in the championship after something of a lean period, with Carey lining out in his first provincial decider. Dublin provided the opposition on that occasion; however, the men from the capital proved to be no pushovers. With seconds left in the game 'the Dubs' were winning by a single point, however, a last-gasp goal sealed a 1–11 to 0–13 victory for 'the Cats'.[20] It was Carey's first Leinster winners' medal in the senior grade. Another nail-biting win over Antrim in similar circumstances set up an All-Ireland final meeting with Tipperary, their first championship encounter in twenty years. The opening thirty-five minutes saw both sides trade score-for-score, however, a controversial 20-metre free, miss-hit by Michael Cleary, landed in the net and gave Tipp a lead which they never surrendered. The final score of 1–16 to 0–15 resulted in a loss for Kilkenny.[21] In spite of this defeat Carey was later presented with his first All-Star award.

In 1992 Kilkenny bounced back from the All-Ireland defeat and Carey collected a second Leinster medal following a comprehensive 3–16 to 2–9 defeat of Wexford.[20] The subsequent All-Ireland final saw 'the Cats' take on Cork for the first time in nearly a decade. The game was well balanced for the first-half, however, Carey scored a goal four minutes before the break. This seemed to give Kilkenny the impetus to go on and win the game. Two more goals by John Power and Michael Phelan in the second-half secured a win for Kilkenny and a first senior All-Ireland medal for Carey.[22] A second All-Star award soon followed.

In 1993 Kilkenny were still on top of the hurling world and Carey captured a third consecutive Leinster title after a draw and a replay with Wexford.[20] He later lined out in his third successive All-Ireland final appearance as 'the Cats' faced Galway for the first time since 1987. Galway won on that occasion; however, in 1993 they were lagging behind Kilkenny for much of the game. They went a point ahead coming into the last quarter; however, Kilkenny won the match by five points, giving Carey a second All-Ireland medal.[23] A third All-Star award quickly followed as well as the honour of being named Texaco Hurler of the Year. At twenty-two he was one of the youngest-ever recipients of the accolade.

In 1994 Kilkenny were aiming for an impressive third All-Ireland in-a-row, however, the team fell at the first hurdle in the provincial championship. In spite of this defeat Carey's prowess earned him a fourth consecutive All-Star award.

In 1995 it looked as if Kilkenny's hurling fortunes were turning. At the start of the year Carey added a second National League title to his collection as Kilkenny defeated Clare to take the title.[24] In spite of this victory 1995 proved to be an unhappy year for Carey as Kilkenny were trounced by Offaly in the Leinster final.[20] In spite of this championship defeat Carey later collected a fifth consecutive All-Star award.

Kilkenny failed to make the provincial final in 1996, while in 1997, with Carey as captain, the team were defeated by Wexford.[20] As defeated provincial finalists Carey's side were able to have another shot at the All-Ireland title via the newly introduced 'back-door' system. After a great defeat of Galway, in which Carey put in a great performance, his side were later defeated by eventual winners Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final.[25] A sixth All-Star award quickly followed.

In early 1998 Carey shocked the hurling world by retiring from inter-county activity. The pressure of being a high-profile inter-county star in the spotlight was the reason he gave for his decision. At the age of 27 it looked as if the hurling world had lost one of its greatest players. Carey's retirement was short-lived. Six weeks after the announcement he had received 25,000 letters from all over the country encouraging him not to retire.[26] Carey reversed his decision and Kilkenny, under the new management of Kevin Fennelly, defeated Offaly in the provincial final.[20] It was Carey's fourth Leinster winners' medal. Kilkenny later cruised to an All-Ireland final appearance where Offaly provided the opposition once again. The defeated Leinster finalists had certainly learned from their mistakes with Joe Errity and Brian Whelahan scoring key goals. At the full-time whistle Offaly emerged as the winners by 2–16 to 1–13.[27] It was the first time that a defeated team had won the All-Ireland title via the 'back-door' system. Carey was also completely subdued in the final, a possible reason for his omission from the All-Stars team.

In 1999 Brian Cody took over as manager and Kilkenny began their domination of the championship. That year Carey won his fifth Leinster title as Offaly, the All-Ireland champions, fell heavily in the provincial final. The score of 5–14 to 1–16 tells its own story.[20] The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Kilkenny take on Cork, their age-old rivals, for the first time since 1992. On that occasion Carey won his first All-Ireland medal, however, there was to be no success for him in 1999. A poor game on a wet day gave one of the youngest Cork teams ever the All-Ireland title.[28] In spite of the loss Carey was still presented with a seventh All-Star award.

In 2000 Carey captured a sixth Leinster medal as Kilkenny completed their annual trouncing of Offaly once again. On this occasion the score line was a more respectable 2–21 to 1–13 in favour of 'the Cats'.[20] An appearance in his sixth All-Ireland soon followed for Carey as 'the Cats' lined out against Offaly for the second time that season. After just six minutes Carey scored the first of five goals as Kilkenny exposed the Offaly full-back line. He scored 2–4 that day and shared his second goal with a young Henry Shefflin. Further goals by Charlie Carter and Eddie Brennan saw Kilkenny win on a score line of 5–15 to 1–14 and allowed Carey capture his third All-Ireland medal.[28] He later collected his eighth All-Star award, as well as being named Texaco Hurler of the Year and Eircell Hurler of the Year.[29]

In 2001 Carey added a seventh Leinster medal to his collection following another 2–19 to 0–12 demolition of Wexford in the provincial final.[20] In spite of being the favourites to retain the championship title Kilkenny were later caught on the hop by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.[30]

In 2002 'the Cats' bounced back with Carey winning an eighth Leinster title. The score line was much closer than in previous encounters with Wexford, as 'the Cats' only had a 0–19 to 0–17 win.[20] Kilkenny subsequently had an easy passage into the All-Ireland final where Clare, a team defeated in the first round of the championship, provided the opposition. Once again Carey was on form, scoring a goal after just three minutes of play. Together with Henry Shefflin they scored 2–13 of Kilkenny's total of 2–20.[31] Clare fought back in the second-half; however, it was Kilkenny's day. Carey had captured a fourth All-Ireland medal and was later presented with a record-equaling ninth All-Star award.[32]

In 2003 Carey added to his medal collection by capturing a third National League title following a thrilling 5–14 to 5–13 defeat of Tipp.[24] Carey later captained Kilkenny in the championship as collected a sixth consecutive Leinster winners' medal after an eleven-point win over Wexford.[20] It was his ninth provincial title overall. Kilkenny later faced Cork in an exciting and close All-Ireland final. The Leinster men never led by more than four-points and only secured victory with a late Martin Comerford goal.[31] Carey won his fifth All-Ireland medal that day as captain; however, he was later omitted from the All-Star selection once again.

In 2004 Kilkenny were aiming for a third All-Ireland victory in-a-row, however, the team was now under severe pressure from all quarters. For the first time in seven years Kilkenny failed in their bid to become Leinster champions as a last-gasp Wexford goal ended a run of success in the provincial semi-final. Kilkenny took the scenic route via the qualifiers system; however, after a scare against Clare they still reached the All-Ireland final. Once again Cork provided the opposition on a gloomy and overcast day. The sides were level for much of the game; however, in the final twenty minutes Cork scored nine points without reply and secured the 0–17 to 0–9 victory.[31] Kilkenny ended the year with no silverware.

The team bounced back in 2005 with Carey adding a fourth and final National League medal to his ever-growing collection.[24] He later won a tenth Leinster title as 'the Cats' had a narrow win over reigning provincial champions Wexford. While a third successive All-Ireland showdown with Cork seemed extremely likely, Galway defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final in one of the game's of the decade.[33] This was Carey's last appearance in the black and amber jersey of Kilkenny. He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling at the start of the championship in 2006. Brian Cody had wished him to remain on the panel as an impact sub, however, Carey favoured a complete break from hurling at the top level.[34]


Carey also lined out with Leinster in the inter-provincial hurling competition. He first tasted success with his province in 1993 when Leinster defeated Ulster to take the Railway Cup title. Defeat was Leinster's lot for the next few years, however, Carey added a second Railway Cup medal to his collection in 1998.[35]

Career statistics

Team Year National League Championship Total
Kilkenny 1988-89 Division 1 20-0000-0020-00
1989-90 91-5210-01101-53


Team awards

Young Irelands




  1. "D. J. Carey". Hogan Stand website. 4 June 1993. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  2. Moran, Seán (6 November 2013). "The great balancing act of being DJ Carey". Irish Times. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  3. Humphries, Tom (5 October 2003). "Sticks and thrones". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  4. "Kilkenny GAA profile". Hogan Stand website. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  5. "Leinster Senior Hurling Finalists" (PDF). Leinster GAA website. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  6. McGough, Leo (8 September 2004). "Walton led for years, then D.J. set up the '50 Club'". Kilkenny People. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  7. "Carey calls time". Hogan Stand website. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  8. "'Sad day for hurling' as DJ Carey announces retirement". Breaking News website. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  9. Lawlor, Damian (4 June 2006). "Carey was a gift from heaven". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  10. "DJ Carey's omission from hurling team of the millennium is a pure disgrace". The Kerryman. 16 September 2000. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  11. Donegan, Des (2005). The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games. DBA Publications. p. 225.
  12. "Eight more lives to go for Kilkenny's top cat". Irish Examiner. 11 February 1998. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  13. "DJ Carey reveals his new love happiness". The Irish Post. 16 March 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  14. "GAA stars get fired up for charity golf event in La Manga". Charity Guide. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  15. "Club History: Intermediate Glory". Young Irelands GAA website. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  16. "Club History: Seniors". Young Irelands GAA website. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  17. Breheny, Martin (28 October 2002). "DJ's magical melody leaves Dunnamaggin in his wake". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  18. Woolacott, Ryan (18 June 2011). "DJ Carey comes out of retirement". Sports News IRELAND website. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  19. The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 69
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 27
  21. Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. p. 363.
  22. The GAA Book of Lists p. 363
  23. The GAA Book of Lists p. 364
  24. 1 2 3 The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 70
  25. The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 8
  26. Lawlor, Damian (4 June 2006). "Carey was a gift from heaven". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  27. The GAA Book of Lists p. 365
  28. 1 2 The GAA Book of Lists p. 366
  29. "Kilkenny win nine hurling All Stars". BBC Sport. 1 December 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  30. The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games p. 9
  31. 1 2 3 The GAA Book of Lists p. 367
  32. Breheny, Martin (27 November 2002). "Dazzling DJ poised to equal Spillane's record of nine All Star awards". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  33. "Galway face Cork in hurling final". BBC Sport. 21 August 2005. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  34. "Carey quits inter-county hurling". BBC Sport. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  35. "Leinster Railway Cup Winning Teams" (PDF). Leinster GAA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
Preceded by
Brian Corcoran
Texaco Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Brian Whelahan
Preceded by
Brian Corcoran
Eircell Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Tommy Dunne
Preceded by
Brian Corcoran
Texaco Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Tommy Dunne
Preceded by
Andy Comerford
All-Ireland Senior Hurling
winning captain

Succeeded by
Ben O'Connor
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tom Hickey
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Michael Phelan
Preceded by
Charlie Carter
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Martin Comerford
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