Sunday 23 October 2016

Dublin hurlers set to make backroom change ahead of Fenway 'Classic' game

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

David O’Callaghan at the launch of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic
David O’Callaghan at the launch of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic

Hurling will return to the famous Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team, for the first time in 61 years when Dublin and Galway meet in a 'Super 11s' match on Sunday, November 22.

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The AIG Fenway Hurling Classic will coincide with an Irish Festival at the venue over the weekend which will celebrate all aspects of Irish culture and music with Boston College taking on Notre Dame in a college football match the previous day.

'Super 11s' is the brainchild of the Gaelic Players Association who showcased a game in Notre Dame in 2013. Modifications have been made with the rules to allow the 11-a-side game to be played at smaller sports venues around the world.

AIG will sponsor the classic with Aer Lingus coming on board as secondary sponsors.

Cork defeated an American selection in a 1954 exhibition match in Fenway Park.

Limerick hurler Seamus Hickey, who represented the GPA at yesterday's launch, said the Boston event was part of a strategy to draw in a greater international audience for hurling.

"When our games are as good as we say they are, we always want to show them off as much as we can," he said. "That was always the thought process behind it with the GPA."

Meanwhile, Dublin's hurlers will have at least one new member on their backroom team, with confirmation that Shay Boland has departed as a selector.

There has also been speculation that Gearóid ó Riain and Ed Coughlan may not be on board with Ger Cunningham next year either, but that is unconfirmed.

Dublin hurler David 'Dotsie' O'Callaghan hopes to be involved in 2016 and has backed Brian Cody's call for a more condensed hurling championship in the future.

"I would feel it's very long, to be honest, from just being involved in a season. And that's us finishing early the last two years.

"I think they should really look at drawing it in together and see that the club is brought into it in a big way as well, making sure there's some sort of link so you know when exactly these things are going to be on to facilitate them.

"At the moment it seems to be working fine in relation to the structure of it. I suppose it is just bringing in the time frame of it," he said.

O'Callaghan revealed that the uncertainty over club fixtures at present was a real issue for him.

"In Dublin over the last couple of weeks the hurling would be affected by the footballers. Obviously you are not going to have those issues in Kilkenny but they are there in some counties and it causes a lot of chaos, people not being able to literally plan or gear towards potential championship games."

Meanwhile, Cork County Board last night took the first formal steps towards replacing Jimmy Barry-Murphy by appointing former stars Charlie McCarthy, Seanie O'Gorman and Pat Mulcahy to a five-man committee to search for a new hurling manager.

Cork chairman Ger Lane and secretary Frank Murphy will also be on the committee.

Irish Independent

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