Iconic Fenway Park to host Dub hurlers

by Gazette Reporter
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ONE of the world’s most iconic sporting stadiums will host our own iconic sport this November after it was announced the Dublin Senior Hurlers will face Galway in Fenway Park.
The home of the Boston Red Sox will host the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic on Sunday November 22.
The announcement was made by AIG Insurance in Ireland, the GAA, the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA), and Fenway Sports Management (FSM) on Tuesday in Croke Park. Launch events also took place in the famous Boston stadium after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made the announcement stateside.
Director general of the GAA Paraic Duffy praised the importance of such an event. “It is encouraging to see the interest and impact our national game can have overseas and we’re delighted to be involved in this project for that reason,” he said.
“Our overseas network is extremely important to us and bringing hurling to what is widely recognised as an Irish city outside Ireland is massively important to us. It will be an occasion to remember on November 22 as two excellent teams from Dublin and Galway demonstrate the best skills of our games.”
The game will form part of an Irish Festival at Fenway Park on the weekend where all aspects of Irish culture and music will be celebrated. It will be played the day after Boston College take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at Fenway.
The Dublin vs Galway clash will be a fresh experience for the intercounty stars as it will be played in the Super 11s format. Super 11s, which is the brainchild of the GPA, is an 11-a-side format of traditional hurling.
It allows hurling to be played in stadiums and venues across the globe where the pitch size or playing area is smaller than that of a traditional pitch here in Ireland.
Only goals can be scored in the format which may take some getting used to for the Dublin and Galway stars but specific training sessions will be organised by the GAA to ensure both sides are accustomed to the rules ahead of the match.
Donal Og Cusack, chairman of the GPA, was also on hand to praise the idea at the Croke Park launch. “The AIG Fenway Hurling Classic is a truly wonderful opportunity for us to exhibit hurling at a high profile US sporting venue, and there is none more iconic than the home of the Red Sox,” he said.
“We believe that hurling ranks alongside the best sports in the world and the staging of this game in Fenway is part of our commitment to convey that message to a new and influential audience.”
It will be the first time since November 1954 that hurling will be played at the home of the Red Sox. It was back 61 years ago that the then All-Ireland champions Cork took on and defeated an American hurling selection.
General manager of Dublin GAA’s sponsor AIG Ireland Declan O’Rourke, stated that the links between Boston and Ireland should make this a truly momentous occasion.
“We are absolutely delighted and hugely proud to be able to bring hurling to the iconic Fenway Park in Boston. I don’t need to explain the close ties the city of Boston has to Ireland and that is why it is a fitting venue to play host to one of our national games.”
Finally, Sam Kennedy, president of Fenway Sports Group, which is the parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, was confident the Dublin and Galway hurlers can entertain his hometown fans.
“Hurling is one of the most electrifying sports in the world and we think fans are going to enjoy watching all the fast-paced action as two of the most accomplished and talented counties compete on the pitch at Fenway Park.”

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