Since his arrival in 2013, nine time All-Star and multiple All-Ireland champion DJ Carey has had an immeasurable impact on Carlow hurling.
With his first foray into management with the IT Carlow hurlers, Carey guided the Freshers team to a league final in his first year – and carried that same group of lads towards four more league titles in the following years. It has been an enormously successful stint in charge, taking the group so agonizingly close to a Fitzgibbon Cup in 2017, and following that up with a very respectable 2018 campaign.
2017 felt like the year where nothing was going to be left behind, with the hard work and dedication from Carey and his management team, which includes Kilkenny selector Michael Dempsey. Placing second in the group table, Carey was not leaving Limerick without a quarter-final win under his belt, and came to UL and beat them on their own turf to the shock of many.
Determination gave him that win. Reaching a Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final for the first time was a heart warming moment for everyone involved with Carlow, both now and in the past. A win by the puck of a ball against UCC sent Carlow into the final, where, unfortunately, a fine Mary Immaculate College team stood in Carlow’s way of winning a first Fitzgibbon Cup. But it was a huge moment in the college’s history and has shown Carey to be rising manager who can drive teams towards success.
2018 was a new year, a new campaign, and a fresh start for Carey. This year was going to be the last year of Fitzgibbon hurling for some of the players and they new it wasn’t going to be easy. Again, winning another league final, DJ wanted his men to progress even further. The only way to do this was by getting revenge on last year’s cup holders Mary I in the first round – and they delivered with a 1-22 to 0-22 win.
After three rounds, IT Carlow topped their group and after beating LIT in the quarter-final stages, the excitement and expectation began to amplify. Could Carlow go one better in 2018? Unfortunately, a University of Limerick side most counties would envy stood in their way and a scalp was not to be, as Carlow bowed out at the final four.
Speaking to Dwane Palmer, former hurler at IT Carlow, he said “I started college the same time DJ Carey started.”
“It was such a privilege to get the chance to hurl under his management.”
“DJ is an iconic figure, a very down to earth man. And also great motivator.” Carey has brought a great connection to Carlow, uniting the Fitzgibbon team and the student population, perennial underdogs standing up to and beating the best and biggest third-level institutions in the country.
“Since I started in first year I have five titles with DJ. Unfortunately, this year is my final year hurling with IT Carlow. Thanks to DJ they will be five years I’ll always remember. My confidence level has risen and he has brought the best out of me as a player and I thank him for that.”
IT Carlow will always have the dream of winning a Fitzgibbon Cup, and thanks to DJ Carey he has put them on the right road to success.
Final year student in Institute of Technology Carlow studying Management Practice, I have a huge interest in sport and writing. Looking to progress in blogging.