D.J. Carey - players must aspire to playing with the Kilkenny senior team
The current minor championships and the forthcoming under-21 competitions will be searched for talent, new Kilkenny under-21 hurling manager, D.J. Carey has insisted.
The appointment of the Young Irelands (Gowran) clubman was ratified at Monday's monthly meeting of the County Board, but Carey has already started the job of viewing the talent.
"I am excited by the challenge," the five times All-Ireland winner insisted after being appointed to take over from former county colleague, Eddie Brennan, who guided the Cats to a Leinster championship win and appearance in the All-Ireland final against Limerick this year.
"I was proud to have been asked," Carey added when he revealed he had turned down several other job offers.
He insisted that if he had been asked to take on the job a year or two ago he would have said no. He got involved with under-age football teams two years ago to try and help because he didn't like to see any Kilkenny team being hammered.
He enjoyed that involvement at under-14 level, and this year he was involved with the Tony Forristal team. Those experiences, plus his involvement with Carlow IT, whetted the appetite.
While suggesting there was a lot of work to be done, and a lot of changes to be made, Carey said he knew the quality of players he would have to work with would be good after coming through the well tried schools, colleges, club and Development Squad systems in the county.
"It won't be our role to teacher players how to playing hurling," the nine times All-Star insisted. "They will come through the system well prepared.
"At this level of management when you get players it is about tactics, about perfecting the skills and making them better and trying to make guys bigger, stronger and faster for inter-county hurling."
Ultimately, he continued, the goal was to prepare players for senior hurling.
"The No. 1 team in any county or club is your top adult team," D.J. continued. "That is what we are striving to coach young lads to play with."
He saw that as part of his role, to help players make the step up to the next team above under-21, which was the senior side.
"Sure, we all want to win Leinster and All-Ireland titles, but there is a bigger picture," he added.
The under-21 team was possibly the No. 2 side in the county in that it would be regarded as the next feeder for the senior squad.
"We have a legend of a senior manager in Kilkenny in Brian Cody," D.J. added. "I would regard myself as being under Brian Cody.
"I would regard the Development Squads as being under Brian Cody. We should know what he is looking for, and try and have the players ready to step up to his panel."
Carey is in the process of finalising his selectors. He will work with four, plus a trainer. He had people more or less sorted, but they were involved with their club at the moment.
They would see out those commitments before joining him on the Selection Committee.
On top of watching as much club action as possible, Carey, also hopes to organise a number of trial matches.
"We have to spread the net wide," he said. "Lads who were never involved with county squads before might be maturing that bit late, so we have to keep an eye out for them.
"We are looking closely at the minor championships. We are looking at everything. I would hope lads will show they are interested.
But there was a warning: "If you want to be a top sportsman there are rule you have to abide by. I don't set them. Common sense does. If you don't observe the rules maybe the inter-county game is not for you."