LIMERICK hurlers will backbone a Munster team that will play an exhibition match prior to an American Football game in Notre Dame this weekend.
Nicky Quaid, Donal O’Grady, James Ryan, Gavin O’Mahony, Graeme Mulcahy, Wayne McNamara, Declan Hannon, Tom Condon and Paudie O’Brien are part of the 28-man touring group. The group is split in to Munster and Leinster teams and will play an 11-a-side modified game in Arlotta Stadium on Saturday as part of the game-day build up to the big college football clash between Notre Dame and USC.
With over 100,000 fans on the University’s grounds that day, it provides a unique opportunity to showcase hurling during one of the biggest sporting events in the US.
The game, which is played on a smaller pitch to accomodate non-GAA sports grounds, has a different scoring system to a normal hurling game with only goals allowed. The value of a goal, however, is dependant on what part of the field it is scored from. It was designed by former Cork hurler Donal Og Cusack who is now chairman of the GPA and is attempting to bring hurling to a wider audience.
Already this year there have been two exhibition games in Ireland, one in Galway during an international hurling tournament and the other in Croke Park before the All Ireland hurling final replay.
“The reaction of everyone to Super Hurling 11s has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Cusack. “I am particularly enthused by the attitude of the county players who have been trialling the format over the past few months.
“They like it and they realise that it will make the promotion of our game abroad that much easier. We can now look at taking county squads into prominent, prestigious venues to show sports fans what hurling has to offer – and ultimately lead them back to our wonderful hurling championships at home.”
The players are set to depart today to Chicago and then to South Bend and the Super Hurling 11s game is part of the game day itinerary on the Notre Dame campus. The players will also visit a number of schools, community projects as well as deliver a number of exhibitions on the campus.
The Munster team is managed by former Limerick boss Donal O’Grady while Kilkenny’s Martin Fogarty is in charge of the Leinster side. Along with the nine Limerick players, there are four Tipperary players and Waterford player on the Munster squad. There are no representatives from All Ireland finalists Cork and Clare.
MUNSTER SQUAD: Nicky Quaid, Donal O’Grady, James Ryan, Gavin O’Mahony, Graeme Mulcahy, Wayne McNamara, Declan Hannon, Tom Condon and Paudie O’Brien (Limerick), Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett, Patrick Maher and Paul Curran (Tipperary), Shane O’Sullivan (Waterford)
LEINSTER SQUAD: James Skehill (Galway), Liam Rushe (Dublin), Aidan Harte (Galway), Niall Healy (Galway), David O’Callaghan (Dublin), Jack Guiney (Wexford), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), Neil McManus (Antrim), JJ Delaney (Kilkenny), Shane Dooley (Offaly), Cathal Parlon (Offaly), Lee Chin (Wexford), Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny), Jackie Tyrell (Kilkenny)