The AIG Hurling Classic is coming back to Fenway Park, this time in the form of a three-match tournament on Sun., Nov. 19. The event will feature four of Ireland’s top teams, with Galway taking on Dublin in a rematch of the 2015 contest, and Tipperary facing Clare in the second preliminary match. The winners will then play for the championship.
America’s oldest major league ballpark has had ties to Ireland for nearly a century. It was there in 1919 that the eminent Irish leader Eamon de Valera made his case for the recognition of a newly independent Ireland to a standing-room only gathering. A century later, the Irish of Boston’s ties to the motherland remain as strong as ever, as evidenced by the immense popularity of the 2015 hurling exhibition, which was played in front of a crowd of 30,000. That contest saw Galway come from behind in a thrilling matchup against Dublin to win, 50-47.
Event organizers were encouraged and inspired by the success of the first of what they hoped would become a recurring series. “The strong demand and positive response to the inaugural AIG Fenway Hurling Classic in 2015 prompted us to make this year’s event even bigger and better,” said Fenway Sports Management managing director Mark Lev. “The game’s exciting combination of speed, skill, constant action, and scoring has really resonated with fans.”
So this month, “the fastest game on grass” returns to Fenway in the wake of last month’s All-Ireland Championship, which saw Galway emerge victorious over Waterford. The reigning world champions will seek to defend their title and earn a second straight victory over Dublin in the Fenway Classic.
“Along with the championship trophy, there will be an intense Irish pride for counties competing in the final match,” said Gaelic Players Association chief executive officer Dermot Earley. “The new tournament format is going to bring the best out of four brilliant teams. It will be an unforgettable day for fans, players, and the sport of hurling as a whole.”
The classic will be preceded by a lively Irish festival featuring Irish food, music, and dancing. The festival will begin at 11 a.m. The preliminary games will be played at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., and the championship match at 3 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at mlb.com/redsox/tickets/special-events/hurling.