Fenway Park, the hallowed ground of the Boston Red Sox, was taken over by Irish players wielding sticks in what has been described as the world’s fastest game played on grass, on November 18. It was the third time in four years that the Park played host to the Fenway Hurling Classic. Fans of Ireland’s national game came from across the states to watch the action as four teams competed for the Players Champions Cup, in three 40-minute matches.
The reigning Players Cup champions, Clare, lost by a goal to Cork when a late penalty was converted in the first game of the tournament. The second match-up, between Wexford and Limerick, saw Limerick come out ahead, which was hardly surprising given that Limerick are the reigning All-Ireland Champions, having beaten Galway in Croke Park last August. Limerick went on to claim the Players Cup, beating Cork in the final.
The tournament, a joint initiative between the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), in conjunction with Aer Lingus and Fenway Sports Management, featured a modified version of hurling developed for American audiences and U.S. pitches. Known as the Super11s, the games are modified for a short field, and unlike the traditional 15-aside format, they feature 11-aside, and there is no scoring points over the bar. Goals can range from 2 to 5 points depending on where the player is on the field and how the ball is struck. ♦