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This Day 25 Years Ago Saw A Truly Momentous GAA Result - And Hardly Anyone Saw It

This Day 25 Years Ago Saw A Truly Momentous GAA Result - And Hardly Anyone Saw It
By Conor Neville Updated

17 June 1990. Two great players make their championship debuts in Croke Park. One would have a dream debut. Wherever he went the ball fell into his hand. The other endured a distressing opening 19 minutes and spent the next 41 minutes on the bench.

Brian Whelahan was the former. The Irish Independent reported that 'a star was born' and commended Whelahan for his stunning performance at right half back.

The latter was DJ Carey, whose performance attracted little comment. Carey said later on he would never forgive the selector who panicked and whipped him off so early in the game.

Carey in fact scored Kilkenny's only point while he was on the pitch. It was a straightforward free and didn't serve to save him from the curly finger on the line.

After 20 minutes it was 3-6 to 0-1 to Offaly.

One of the biggest blitzes Kilkenny have ever endured. Topped only by the opening half-hour of the 2012 Leinster final.

And hardly anyone saw it.



Despite the game being part of a double header with Dublin and Wexford in the first semi-final, only 17,000 people turned up in Croker.

Everyone else was at home or in the pub watching Jack's boys huff and puff against Egypt in Palermo. Watching Eamon Dunphy wonder aloud what Tommy Eglington and Peter Farrell would have thought of it all. Watching the little Egyptians stifle Ireland.


The crowd watching the hurling that day was a deeply emaciated one. They really were restricted to the diehards.


Offaly would go on to win on the scoreline of 4-15 to 1-8. It was the nadir for Kilkenny hurling. Things would improve rapidly for them within a few years.


Offaly beat Dublin to scoop their third successive Leinster hurling title before going on to lose to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Read more: RETRO GAA: The Worst Provincial Championship Of All-Time?

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