This moment did not end with silverware or titles - in many respects it was the beginning of something great as it was D.J. Carey’s first championship goal.
But this three-pointer in injury time in the Leinster SHC semi-final of 1991 was special. At 20 years of age, Carey was a player well known to hurling folk, but this year and this goal marked Carey out as a national sporting icon.
The context of this goal. D.J. had made his debut for the county two years previous, and Kilkenny had not won an All-Ireland in almost ten years when this championship began. Indeed, with D.J. having claimed his first NHL medal the previous year, Kilkenny were walloped by Offaly in the semi-final, and the county was not overly confident taking on a strong Wexford side under new manager Ollie Walsh.
And so to the game. Kilkenny were behind by two points with the game up in injury time when Carey broke on to the ball through the Wexford half back line. Only a goal would save Kilkenny, and showing incredible pace, he left four Wexford defenders in his wake. They hunted D.J. all the way to the edge of the square, and just two metres from the goal D.J. kicked the sliotar to the Wexford net.
An explosion of emotion overwhelmed the Kilkenny support. Here was D.J. realising his potential, denying the old enemy and this goal sent Kilkenny all the way to the All-Ireland final where they were narrowly beaten by Tipperary.
The following year D.J. won his first of five All-Ireland medals, but Kilkenny fans often ponder would the ’92/’93 successes have happened but for this outstanding goal which snatched a famous win.
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