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Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival, July 13th/14th

posted 15 May 2012, 15:48 by Unknown user

The President of the G.A.A., Liam O Neill, launched the Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival at Croke Park on Monday, May 21st.

Over one thousand players from the U.S., England, Northern Ireland, Europe and the Republic of Ireland, will take part in the two day event in Thurles on Munster hurling final week-end, July 13th and 14th.

Competing for the Tom Semple Cup (presented to Sarsfields Club by the family of the late Tom Semple, distinguished hurler, coach, and administrator, after whom Semple Stadium is named)  will be – Kilburn Gaels of London, last year’s winners; Robert Emmets (London), Keady (Armagh), O Donovan Rossa (Antrim), Na Magha (Derry), Kilmoyley (Kerry), Kilbrin (Cork), Toureen (Mayo), Manorhamilton (Leitrim), Naomh Moninne (Louth), Dunboyne (Meath) and Carnew Emmets (Wicklow).

Teams eliminated after the round-robin section of the Semple Cup will take part in the Jackie Carew Cup tournament. The trophy was presented to the club by the late Jackie Carew, a former club official.

Thurles is EuropeanTown of Sport for 2012. To mark the occasion, the O Neill’s European hurling and camogie championship finals will be staged in conjunction with the festival. Teams of ex pats from Belgium, Luxembourg, The Hague, Zurich, Paris, Holland, Amsterdam, and Budapest will be joined by The Wild Geese, a selection drawn from U.S. marines based in England, in the championships finals.

A novel innovation at the festival will be a Caman Abu hurling tournament featuring celebrity selections. Caman Abu was launched at congress last year to cater specifically for social and recreational players, male and female, with the emphasis on participation and fun.

Another first this year is a Hurl Ball tournament. Hurl ball is played in handball alleys with players using their hurleys in a new game largely based on handball rules. It is growing in popularity among current and former players.

Road Bowling, traditionally associated with Cork and Armagh, will be demonstrated in Thurles for the first time in conjunction with the festival.

On the  evening  of July 13th, Thurles Sarsfields will play O Donovan Rossa and this will be followed by the official opening at Sarsfields Social Centre and a concert by Tipperary Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann musicians.

John Enright, chairman of the committee organising the festival, said the purpose of the festival is to promote hurling at international level and to encourage sports tourism in Tipperary and Thurles.

“The festival is an effort by our club to aid the development of hurling as an international game while at the same time stimulating the local economy by attracting teams and visitors to the area.  Hurling is unique to Ireland and  is on a par with bull-fighting in Spain or baseball in America. It  has a huge largely un-tapped potential to boost tourism to our country in these difficult financial times”, he said.

He added that the club is very grateful to Shannon Development and  the  GAA at local and national level, and local businesses, for their support and co-operation in mounting the event.