Noel Hickey

Noel Hickey
Noel Hickey
Personal information
Irish name Nollaig Ó hÍcí
Sport Hurling
Position Full-back
Born 22 December 1980 (1980-12-22) (age 30)
Dunnamaggin, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Occupation Farmer
Years Club
1997-present Dunnamaggin
Club Titles
Kilkenny titles 1
Years County Apps (scores)
2000-present Kilkenny 39 (0-00)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 8
All Irelands 6
All Stars 3
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 11 September 2010.

Noel Hickey (born 22 December 1980 in Dunnamaggin, County Kilkenny, Ireland) is an Irish sportsperson. He plays hurling with his local club Dunnamaggin and has been a member of the Kilkenny senior inter-county team since 2000. Hickey is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation.[1]



Noel Hickey was born in Dunnamaggin, County Kilkenny in 1980. The second youngest of a family of six brothers, he grew up on the family farm where he honed his hurling skills. Hickey was educated locally at St. Leonard's national school before later attending Coláiste Éamann Rís in nearby Callan. He quickley became a key fixture on the school's hurling team and captured a Leinster colleges' title in 1998 following a 1-10 to 0-9 defeat of the mighty St. Kieran's College.[2] The Callan side were subseqeuntly defeated by St. Flannan's College in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Hickey later attended Kildalton College, a third level agricultural institute, where he enjoyed further hurling success. He won an All-Ireland agricultural colleges' title in 1999. Hickey currently works as a farmer.

Playing career


Hickey plays his club hurling with his local Dunnamaggin club and has enjoyed much success.[3] He first came to prominence as a member of the club's minor side, winning a county title in this grade in 1995. He added a second minor county title to his collection three years later in 1998.

By this stage Hickey was also a key member of the Dunnamaggin under-21 side. It was a hugely successful period for the south Kilkenny club, as Hickey won his first under-21 county title in 1996 when he was only fifteen years-old. Two more under-21 titles followed in 1998 and 1999.

Hickey was still only a member of the club's minor team when he joined the Dunnamaggin senior team. In 1997 the club reached the senior county championship final for the very first time in their history. Reigning champions Young Irelands provided the opposition. Hickey had been impressive in some challenge games leading up to the final and was handed his senior championship debut just hours before the start of the game. It was a family affair as the full-back line consisted of Hickey at left corner-back while his two brothers provided support to his right. Dunnamaggin won the game by 2-10 to 2-7, giving Hickey and his club a first county title at senior level.[4]

Dunnamaggin failed to retain the title the following year, while also suffering the ignominy of being relegated from the senior competition.

The club bounced back to recalim their senior status in 2000, following victory in the intermediate county championship final.

In 2002 Hickey lined out in his second county championship decider at senior level. Once again it was Young Irelands who provided the opposition. Hickey faced a tough afternoon at full-back as D. J. Carey, his opposite number, scored a remarkable 2-7 to give Young Irelands a 3-14 to 1-15 victory.[5]

Minor & under-21

Hickey first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Kilkenny minor team in 1997. He won a Leinster title that year following a fifteen-point trouncing of Offaly. Kilkenny's minor were later beaten in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Hickey was eligible for the minor grade again in 1998. He added a second Leinster title to his collection that year following a comprehensive defeat of Wexford in a replay. Kilkenny later made it all the way to the final where Cork provided the opposition. A 2-15 to 1-9 score line resulted in defeat for Kilkenny.

In 1999 Hickey joined the Kilkenny under-21 team and was appointed captain for the year. It was a successful year for 'the Cats', as they captured the Leinster title following a 1-17 to 1-6 defeat of Offaly. The subsequent All-Ireland final pitted Hickey's side against Galway and a close game developed. At the final whistle Kilkenny were the champions by 1-13 to 0-14 and Hickey collected his sole All-Ireland under-21 winners' medal.


In 2000 Hickey made his senior championship debut as Kilkenny reached the Leinster final. Offaly provided the opposition, however, Kilkenny had the upper-hand and a comfortable 2-21 to 1-13 victory gave Hickey a first Leinster winners' medal. As a result of the so-called 'back-door' system in the championship both sides later faced off against each other again in the All-Ireland final. D. J. Carey capitalised on an Offaly mistake after just six minutes to start a goal-fest for 'the Cats'. Carey scored 2-4 in all, sharing his second goal with Henry Shefflin who also scored a goal in the second-half. At the full-time whistle Kilkenny were the champions by 5-15 to 1-14 and Hickey collected his first All-Ireland winners' medal. He was subsequently honoured with his first All-Star award while also picking up the Eircell Young Hurler of the Year title.

In 2001 Hickey's side retained their provincial crown following a facile 2-19 to 0-12 defeat of Wexford.[6] While Kilkenny were expected to reach the All-Ireland final and retain their title, an unexpected defeat by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final brought their campaign to an end.

Kilkenny recovered from this shock defeat and signalled their intent by getting into the final of the National Hurling League in 2002. Cork provided the opposition on that occasion and a close game developed. Hickey collected his first National League winners' medal on that occasion following a 2-15 to 2-14 victory.[7] The subsequent provincial championship saw Kilkenny play Wexford in the championship decider. The men from the 'model county' were far from a push-over on this occasion, however, a narrow 0-19 to 0-17 score line gave Kilkenny the win and gave Hickey a third Leinster title in-a-row.[8] A subsequent victory over Tipperary allowed Kilkenny to advance to another All-Ireland final. First-round losers Clare worked their way through the qualifier system and provided the opposition to 'the Cats'. There was no doubt in the pundits' minds that there would be anything but a Kilkenny victory. Henry Shefflin and D. J. Carey combined to score 2-13, while Clare's forwards missed two easy goal chances. At the full-time whistle Kilkenny were the champions by 2-20 to 0-19.[9] It was Hickey's second All-Ireland winners' medal.

In 2003 Kilkenny's dominance of all hurling competitions continued. For the second consecutive year Hickey's side qualified for the final of the National League. Old rivals Tipperary were the opponents and a cracking game of hurling developed between the two. Kilkenny claimed a narrow 5-14 to 5-13 victory.[10] It was Hickey's second National League winners' medal. The Leinster hurling counties provided little opposition in the subsequent championship campaign and Kilkenny marched to yet another Leinster title. The 2-23 to 2-12 defeat of Wexford gave Hickey a fourth consecutive Leinster winners' medal.[11] Subsequent success over Tipperary gave Kilkenny a save passage into an All-Ireland final showdown with Cork. Hickey's side were the overwhelming favourites going into the game, however, they never led by more than four points at any stage of the game. Setanta Ó hAilpín scored the equalising goal for Cork after the restart, however, Martin Comerford's goal five miutes before the end clinched a 1-14 to 1-11 victory for Kilkenny.[12] It was Hickey's third All-Ireland winners' medal in four years while a second All-Star award quickly followed.

In 2004 Kilkenny were aiming for an unprecedented third All-Ireland victory in-a-row, however, the team was now under severe pressure from all quarters. For the first time in seven years Kilkenny failed in their bid to become Leinster champions as a last-gasp Wexford goal ended an almost unprecedented run of success at the semi-final stage.[13] Kilkenny took the scenic route via the qualifiers system, however, after a scare against Clare they still reached the All-Ireland final. For the second year in-a-row Cork provided the opposition on a gloomy and overcast day. The sides were level for much of the game, however, in the final twenty minutes Cork scored nine points without reply and secured the victory.[14] Kilkenny ended the year with no silverware.

Kilkenny were back in form in 2005, however, Hickey endured a season dogged by illness. He missed Kilkenny's National League triumph, however, he returned in time for the championship. Kilkenny proved that the 2004 defeat in Leinster was just a temporary blip. A 0-22 to 1-16 defeat of Wexford in the final gave Kilkenny possession of the provincial title and gave Hickey a fifth Leinster winners' medal.[15] Hickey had been feeling unwell for a while during the championship campaign, however, he failed to act until receiving advice from his sister who was a nurse. He was subsequently diagnosed with a virus that had attached itself to the muscle around the wall of the heart. It would have proved potentially fatal if it had gone undiagnosed. As a result Hickey missed KIlkenny's All-Ireland semi-final against Galway, a game which saw 'the Cats' concede five goals and exit the championship.

In 2006 Hickey colelcted a third National League title while he retained his usual full-back position for the championship. He added a sixth Leinster title to his collection following another facile victory over Wexford, before lining out in the All-Ireland final. The game that everyone had predicted would happen in 2005 was now taking place as Cork squared up to Kilkenny for the third time in four years. The Leesiders were aiming for a third All-Ireland victory in-a-row; however, revenge was foremost in the minds of Kilkenny as it was Cork who denied their three-in-a-row bid in 2004. On the day Kilkenny were far too strong for Cork as 'the Cats' secured a 1-16 to 1-13 victory.[16] It was Hickey's fourth All-Ireland winners' medal.

In 2007 Kilkenny Hickey captured a seventh Leinster winners' medal following another facile victory in the provincial decider. A damaged hamstring restricted his involvement in the latter stages of the 2007 season, however, Kilkenny still qualified for the All-Ireland final where, surprisingly, Limerick provided the opposition. Kilkenny got off to a flying start with Eddie Brennan and Henry Shefflin combining to score two goals within the first ten minutes. Unfortunately, captain Shefflin sustained an injury during the game and had to retire at half-time. In spite of losing their captain and star player Kilkenny still went on to win the game by 2-19 to 1-15 and Hickey collected a fifth All-Ireland winners' medal.[17]

2008 saw Kilkenny launch an all-out attack in an attempt to capture a third All-Ireland title in-a-row. The team had an easy passage through the Leinster campaign, however, the opening half of the provincial final against Wexford gave ‘the Cats’ a minor scare. In the end Hickey collected his eighth Leinster winners' medal after a 5-21 to 0-17 victory. A knee inhury resultted in him being relegated to the substitutes' bench for the subsequent All-Ireland series of games. Kilkenny went on to capture the three-in-a-row, however, Hickey played no part in the 3-30 to 1-13 rout of Waterford.[18] In spite of missing Kilkenny's last two games of the championship, Hickey still picked up a third All-Star award.[19]

The knee injury ruled Hickey out of the 2009 championship while he subsequently damaged an AC joint in his shoulder. Because of this he missed Kilkenny's Leinster final victory over Dublin, while he also played no part in Kilkenny's historic fourth All-Ireland title in succession.

In 2010 Kilkenny were the odds-on favourites to become the first team in either hurling or Gaelic football to win a fifth successive All-Ireland title. After a lacklustre National League campaign Hickey returned to full-back in time for the championship. He subsequently won a ninth Leinster title followimg a comprehensive defeat of Galway. The subsequent All-Ireland final was a repeat of the 2009 decider as Tipperary provided the opposition once again. Tipperary got off to a great start as Kilkenny's star forward Henry Shefflin had to leave the field with an injury. A hat-trick of goals by Lar Corbett and a fourth by Noel McGrath denied Kilkenny's drive-for-five and secured a remarkable 4-17 to 1-18 victory for Tipp.[20] It was Kilkenny's first defeat in the championship since 2005.


Hickey also has two Railway Cup medals with Leinster.




  1. ^ "Carey among seven Cats included on best Leinster team of past 25 years". Irish Independent. 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  2. ^ "Leinster Colleges Senior Hurling Champions". Leinster GAA. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  3. ^ "Dunnamaggin". Dunnamaggin GAA. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Kilkenny's little big man". Irish Independent. 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  5. ^ "Young Irelands 3-14 Dunnamaggin 1-15". Irish Examiner. 2002-10-28. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  6. ^ "Cats tune up for bigger test". Irish Examiner. 2001-07-09. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  7. ^ "Cat's super-sub Dowling a seven minute wonder". Irish Examiner. 2002-05-06. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Wexford wides cost them the final". Irish Examiner. 2002-07-08. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  9. ^ "DJ and Henry blow Banner away". Irish Examiner. 2002-09-09. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  10. ^ "Cats dig deep in Croker cracker". Irish Examiner. 2003-05-06. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  11. ^ "Kilkenny collect historic six-in-a-row". Irish Examiner. 2003-07-07. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  12. ^ "Kilkenny stand firm under Cork onslaught". Irish Examiner. 2003-09-15. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  13. ^ "LEINSTER SHC: Jacob takes the biscuit". Irish Examiner. 2004-06-14. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  14. ^ "Cork savour sweet victory". Irish Examiner. 2004-09-13. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  15. ^ "Kilkenny hold nerve and stumble over the line". Irish Examiner. 2005-07-04. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  16. ^ "Cork 1-13 1-16 Kilkenny". BBC Sport. 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  17. ^ "RTÉ Sport: Kilkenny 2-19 Limerick 1-15, by Tomás McCarthy". RTÉ Sport. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  18. ^ "Kilkenny 3-30 Waterford 1-13 matchtracker". RTÉ Sport. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  19. ^ "Kilkenny dominate All-Star team". Irish Times. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  20. ^ "RTÉ Sport: Tipperary 4-17 Kilkenny 1-18". RTÉ Sport. 2010-09-05. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
Preceded by
Dan Murphy
All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Donnacha Sheehan
Preceded by
Diarmuid O'Sullivan
Eircell Young Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
Eoin Kelly


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