"Boston and Ireland have such a strong connection and it is thrilling to see one of the country's native games will be played on our city's most beloved ball park," said Boston Mayor Walsh. "Hurling is among the most exhilarating games played in the world and our city is proud to host one of Ireland's most traditional sports."
One of Ireland's native Gaelic Games, Hurling shares a number of similarities to Gaelic football, such as the field and goals. Hurlers use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar (pronounced slitter) between the opponents' goalposts either over the crossbar (1 point) or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper (3 points). For the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival, the two teams will play a modified version of hurling called "Super 11's" which reduces the pitch to 11 players and the only way to score is under the crossbar into the net.
"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 teams compete right here on the pitch at Fenway Park," said Fenway Sports Management President Sam Kennedy. "We are always looking for opportunities to bring new and exciting events into Fenway and whether you're a fan of hurling or new to the sport the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival promises to be a great event."
AIG has been an official sponsor to the Dublin GAA since November 2013 and has been committed to raising the profile of hurling and other Gaelic Games to a broader global audience.
"We are very excited to bring the game of hurling to a legendary venue for our fans and introduce the game to new fans in the United States," said Ronald Willett, President, Northeast Zone, AIG. "The All-Ireland Final draws interest from all over the world and we hope this event will help continue to grow the fan base of hurling globally."
Tickets for the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival go on-sale on Thursday, September 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The event will also be streamed live for hurling fans globally on www.redsox.com/irishfestival.
"Following a very successful All-Ireland Final where we drew 82,000 in attendance and had an audience of over two million people watching globally, we could not be more thrilled to bring hurling to one of the most iconic American sports venues in Fenway Park," said GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell. "Dublin and Galway will put on a fantastic display for the spectators, showcasing the wonderful skills and courage of hurling and will help further the growth and interest of hurling in the US."
GAA Director General Páraic Duffy added, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase what is commonly viewed as Ireland's national game on the coveted stage that is Fenway Park. Our games have never enjoyed a higher profile outside Ireland and knowing the importance of Fenway Park to American sports fans, we hope this event involving two of our top teams will further elevate the status of our game to sporting enthusiasts across the city and further afield."
In addition to the Hurling Classic, AIG and FSM have teamed up to offer attendees a lively Irish festival complete with Irish food, music, and dancing. The Irish Festival will be highlighted by a unique performance by Boston-based American Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys. The Dropkick Murphys' connection with Fenway Park and the Red Sox began in 2004 when the band wrote and recorded "Tessie" and it became the anthem for the Red Sox first World Series Championship in 86 years. Additional details about the Irish Festival will be continuously posted at the event website. For more details on the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic and Irish Festival and ticket information, please visit www.redsox.com/irishfestival.