Saturday 21 September 2019

GPA keen on Boston return as Super 11s proves a big hit

GPA director of communications Sean Potts
GPA director of communications Sean Potts

Conor McKeon

Reaction in Boston to Sunday's hurling match in Fenway Park has been positive, opening the door for future return.

In a busy weekend for sport in the city, the 'AIG Fenway Classic' was given considerable prominence across local media and already, the Boston Red Sox have made clear their intentions to host hurling again.

'Boston Globe' columnist Kevin Dupont praised the "goal scoring and some spectacular goalkeeping," comparing the second-quarter brawl to "a scene straight of the NHL, circa early '70s."

"The reaction here (Boston) has been interesting and overwhelmingly positive," said GPA spokesman Seán Potts.

"The row was noted in the context of the occasion, but it didn't overshadow the event and I think that's because in a city like Boston they're used to occasional flare-ups in games like ice hockey and baseball.

"This is a contest and teams prepare for it as they would an inter-county game at home.

"Okay, it's a different format, but players see this as a proper battle and that was reflected in how competitive the game was.

"This was a physical game, and the players were pumped.

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"This was not an exhibition or a friendly, but a competitive game. The players realised that they had a chance to showcase our game and they wanted to do that properly by ensuring it was competitive.

"The row shows how intense the players were and that they brought a level of competitiveness to the game.

"What we have read about the game here since has been very positive; the schemozzle was referenced, but they recognised it in the context of the game."

Both panels expressed their enjoyment of the match, which attracted almost 28,000 spectators; and with such a large local Irish population, Boston would seem the ideal regular home should the parties chose to stage it again.

"The objective of Super 11s is to bring the game to iconic venues like Fenway Park or Notre Dame, as we did two years ago," Potts explained.

"The concept was devised so that we could play our games abroad and showcase them.

"It's like the All Stars trip in that it gives us a chance to bring our games to special locations and include them as part of special events.

"It's like sevens rugby, Twenty-20 cricket or five-a-side soccer - they all endorse the traditional form of their games and lead back to them.

"They are promotional tools and that's what we see Super 11s as."

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