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D.J. Compared To Many Great Hurling Forwards But He Forged His Own
Legendary Status In His Own Glorious Era
A legend amongst legendary hurlers and also legendary handballers in the sporting world, Denis Joseph Carey, born 1970, has been compared to the greatest of all the illustrious hurling names since the G.A.A. was founded in 1884. His club was Young Irelands of Gowran and he wore the famed black and amber of Kilkenny from 1988 to 2005, winning a huge cabinet of silverware on his travels.
His hurling pedigree blossomed whilst a student at St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, a nursery for scores of famous hurlers for over a century. Carey first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Kilkenny minor hurling team.
In 1988 D.J. won a Leinster minor medal and an All Ireland also with victory over Cork. His career was further ignited with a Leinster and All Ireland U21 triumph in 1990. D.J. was now also playing senior with the county and 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.
Following this triumph he made his championship debut in 1989 losing to Offaly. The march of the Gowran hurler at senior level would see the curtain come down with a glorious five All Ireland senior hurling medals won in 1992; 1993; 2000; 2002 and 2003. With nine All Star awards, five in consecutive years, 1991/95, the Kilkenny hurler was now spoken about in the same breath as Ring and Mackey but the hurling community was astonished when DJ, at just twenty seven years old, stated he was retiring. The lifespan of his retirement lasted only a few weeks and the ace sharpshooter would go on to win, three more All Ireland senior medals.
Handball also commanded the sporting attention of the Kilkenny hurler. At under age level he possessed the pedigree and natural raw talent equal to any player, before or after, and he scooped many All-Ireland handball gold medals. He represented Ireland at the USA Junior Nationals in New Mexico in 1989, in the 19 and under grade, and only for an injury picked up in the earlier rounds, Carey may well have gone on to take the prestigious junior gong.
On that occasion he bowed out to one of the most gifted players to have played the US Pro circuit, Californian, Tati Sylvera, in the semi-finals by 11-10 in the tie-break. However, D. J. Carey will always be remembered for his magic with the ash, but what many sporting enthusiasts don’t know, is that the hurling maestro also amassed 11 All-Ireland handball titles during his career in the alley.
At the peak of his sporting career, a year after winning Hurler of the Year, D.J. danced on the global handball stage and won two World Championship titles in 1994, collecting the 23 and Under Singles title and going on to partner, Tyrone’s Ciaran Curran, to Doubles glory in the same grade.
Hurling Roll of Honour
5 All Ireland senior hurling medals: 1992/93/2000/02/03
All Ireland U21 Hurling: 1990
All Ireland Minor Hurling: 1988
10 Leinster Senior Hurling: 1991/92/93/98/99, 2000/01/02, 2003/05
Leinster U21 Hurling: 1990
Leinster Minor Hurling: 1988
4 National Hurling League Medals: 1990; 1995; 2003; 2004
2 Railway Cup Medals: 1993; 1998
9 All Star Awards:1991/92/93/94/95/97/99/2000/02
Texaco Hurler of Year: 2000
2 Kilkenny Senior Hurling Medals: 1996; 2002
Kilkenny Intermediate Hurling Medal: 1992
Derry JF Doody