Denis Joseph Carey was born in Waterford, in 1970. He was born into a large family, with three brothers and three sisters. One of his sisters, Catriona, is a star player on the Irish field hockey team, as well as being part of the Kilkenny senior camogie team. His brother, Martin Carey, was also a member of the Kilkenny hurling panel as a substitute goalkeeper for a number of years. Carey was always destined to be a hurler as many of his relatives had already shown great skill at the game. His aunt, Peggy Carey, won four All-Ireland camogie titles with Kilkenny and his granduncle, Paddy Phelan, was an iconic hurler of the 1930s and was selected on the GAA Hurling Team of the Century and the GAA Team of The Millennium.
Carey was educated at St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny where his hurling skills were first developed. Ironically, when he had the choice of playing either hurling or football at under-12 level with Kilkenny, Carey chose football. When it became apparent to him that football was the lesser of the two Gaelic games in Kilkenny, Carey soon made the switch to hurling. The 1970s and 1980s were great years for Kilkenny hurling, and stars of that period like Eddie Keher, Frank Cummins and Billy Fitzpatrick were a big influence on the young hurler. Carey later studied at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, a famed hurling nursery. It was here that his hurling skills were developed further and he won back-to-back All-Ireland colleges' titles in 1988 and 1989.
Carey's big achievement outside sport is his successful business venture D.J. Carey Enterprises. Based in his home village of Gowran, this is a wholesale company that sells hygiene products to other businesses. Carey’s private life, involving his wife and two children, had long been the subject of intense media scrutiny and rumour. News of the breakdown of his seven-year marriage hit the headlines shortly before the All-Ireland final in 2003 although Carey and his wife had been separated for more than a year. A year later Carey spoke for the first time about the marriage break-down and of finding new love with British-born millionairess Sarah Newman. Carey has also been lauded for his tireless charity work at home and abroad.
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