Sunday 16 December 2018

Horan: Boston 'classic' pays its way, so is here to stay

GAA president John Horan. Photo: Sportsfile
GAA president John Horan. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

GAA president John Horan insists there is a future for the Fenway Hurling Classic as long it pays for itself and doesn't impact on anything else they are doing.

Horan was present at Fenway Park on Sunday when Limerick became the third county to win the Aer Lingus-sponsored Super 11s with a 38-30 victory over Cork.

The crowd of 12,674 was down on the attendances over the last two years but Horan believes the event will continue.

He said that Fenway Sports Management are keen to continue and grow the event in conjunction with the GAA and GPA.

"It's important these things wash their face, that they pay for themselves. That for me is the key thing, and out of that then players get a chance to get a break.

"As someone from Cork pointed out to me, they won two Munster titles and this was the only kind of reward the Cork lads got was the opportunity to come out here for a few days. I'd never begrudge the lads having a break like this .

"I was at the original one in 2015. I know the crowd was considerably bigger then.

"Fenway Sports are very keen to keep this going and the critical thing from our point of view is it is not taking money away from any of the clubs or the development programmes we are carrying out," said Horan.

The matches were broadcast live in Ireland by TG4 and to a large audience on NESN in the United States, and Horan said it is an event which strengthens the ties with the Irish diaspora.

"The games went well, they were quite competitive. Limerick came through in the end and they had the disadvantage of playing in the second semi-final but you could see the crowd bought into it in a big way.

"It's a good opportunity for the players to come out here and mix with the Irish community out here.

"I was out in Canton on Saturday morning where Limerick trained and they did a meet-and-greet with the locals. That's key that we meet with the local GAA out here and that's where I see the big benefit.

"As I always say at home, as an amateur organisation our stars are very touchable in the sense that you meet them in your local club or local shop and they are not like the professional stars who have become nearly icons at a distance," he added.

Sunday's win crowned a fantastic year for Limerick and Treaty manager John Kiely said his squad enjoyed the experience.

"It's been a great year for us and this trip has been a bonus. The lads have really enjoyed it, it has been a great experience. It's been great too for the Irish people living here ," he said.

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