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DJ Carey turned down intercounty managerial jobs as he joins Kilkenny set-up
Last Updated: 04/12/19 9:11am
DJ Carey lives and breathes Kilkenny GAA. Regarded as one of the greatest hurlers of all time, the 'Dodger' has moved into management in recent years, looking after the county's U21 and U20 sides as well as Carlow IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Throw in the Kilkenny minor footballers along with his club's minor team, and it's clear to see his passion for Gaelic games in the county has not waned.
In 2020, he joins Brian Cody's backroom team as a selector on the Kilkenny senior hurlers. It's a natural step forward for a legend within the county, and there will be no shortage of speculation linking him to the top job when Cody eventually decides to step down. There are several other high-profile contenders who have taken up managerial jobs in other counties; Eddie Brennan in Laois, Michael Fennelly in Offaly and David Herrity in Kildare.
However managing another county was never something that interested Carey, despite offers in recent times.
"It would be a bit unfair to name them but I would have had a few [offers]," he said.
"Not many of them got past the stage of me saying it wouldn't be for me.
"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. I would love to see counties doing well, particularly weaker counties but at the end of the day I'd prefer to be involved in a local football team in my own county than be involved anywhere else."
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Joining the senior set-up
Instead he has agreed to join the Kilkenny senior camp, coming in as a selector under Cody.
"I didn't know it was coming at all," he said.
"I stepped down from the U20s to take a break and a few days after, I got a call from Brian and we met. I would have been reluctant, my young fella Mikey is on the panel and I have another fella who has ambitions
"But that wasn't taken as an excuse so here I am!
"I've taken the U20 job and I prefer to be involved more in the background. I prefer the coaching part of where I be and I prefer someone else out front."
It sounds like Cody did not need to do much more persuading.
"At the end of the day I'm a Kilkenny person, that's my passion," he added. "I 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 than outside of that, that's something I believe in."
Working with the 11-time All-Ireland winning manager is a prospect he's excited about.
"I've worked reasonably closely with Brian the last two years anyway," he said.
"He's someone that I played under, he's someone that I'd admire greatly and now someone I'm going to work with."
I'd prefer to be involved in a local football team in my own county than be involved anywhere else.
Carey is fully behind the Kilkenny cause
'Phenomenal' Jim Gavin
The big GAA news of the past week has undoubtedly been the resignation of Dublin football manager Jim Gavin, and Carey was quick to join the plaudits.
"Maybe not many people know it but Jim came down to give my minor Kilkenny footballers a session," he explained.
"He was absolutely phenomenal and he gave us a talk. I wouldn't want to break [confidence] with whatever he said to us, the details he went through, but he was brilliant and you could just see why Dublin were so successful under him. It was just that detail that he had.
"Looking at him on the sideline as well, he was exemplary as well in terms of his attitude
"It just looked to me then that he sat on the sideline for most of the game and just allowed the players to go out and do it because he knew they had the same attitude as he had. So he didn't need to be on the sideline shouting and roaring, balling and screaming, because he put total trust in his players and I think that's the sign of a great manager."
With speculation mounting as to Gavin's successor, Dessie Farrell is the early front-runner, and he is someone Carey worked with closely through the GPA.
"I think Dessie is brilliant," he said. "I've watched him closely with the Dublin underage teams as well. He's a great man, a serious guy on detail and obviously he's come up very closely with a brilliant Dublin set-up. I'm sure anyone that would be in the underage Dublin set-up would see what the seniors is about but yeah, he definitely has the profile. I'm sure Pat Gilroy and I'm sure Paul Clarke and a few of these guys would be in contention for it too."