Monday 17 December 2018

Sliotar used during Fenway Classic will contain a microchip to measure distance and speed of pucks

A general view of Fenway Park before the Aer Lingus Fenway Hurling Classic 2018 semi-final match between Clare and Cork at Fenway Park in Boston, MA, USA. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
A general view of Fenway Park before the Aer Lingus Fenway Hurling Classic 2018 semi-final match between Clare and Cork at Fenway Park in Boston, MA, USA. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

JOHN FALLON at Fenway Park

The sliotar which will be used in the Aer Lingus Fenway Hurling Classic today in Boston will contain a microchip which will send information on distances and speeds travelled during the games.

The innovation could lead to such balls been used in mainstream hurling in the future with the technology providing a vast array of information.

Once again the ball being used in the Aer Lingus Fenway Hurling Classic — this is the third time in four years the event has taken place — will be yellow, with the sliotar containing a chip similar to that used in a contactless credit card.

Clare, who beat Galway in the final last year, will begin the defence of their Aer Lingus Fenway Hurling Classic title with a semi-final meeting with Munster champions Cork at 5.30pm Irish time.

In the other semi-final All-Ireland champions Limerick will take on Wexford with the final to follow. All of the matches will be broadcast live by TG4, starting at 5.30pm this afternoon.

In another innovation, players names and numbers will be on the back of their helmets in an effort to increase player recognition.

All four teams have brought strong squads with Shane O’Donnell, who is now living in Boston until March where he is participating in a Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University, lining out for defending champions Clare.

“We have brought a strong squad and are hoping to defend our title,” said Clare joint manager Donal Moloney. “We got a lot from this event last year and hope to do the same this time around.”

Conditions are perfect in Boston for the game with snow late last week having cleared and it's sunny, dry day. Large crowds have travelled over from Ireland from all four counties, with thousands of Irish diaspora also making their way to the iconic home of the Red Sox.

Each of the four games will be 40 minutes, split into two 20-minute periods, on a pitch which is 100 metres long and just over 50 in width.

Teams of eleven players allowed for unlimited interchanging substitutions, with only goals been scored. Goals from inside the 20-metre defensive zone are worth three points, with those hitting the net from outside that area worth five points.

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