Ireland Trip 2013

Aer Lingus International Hurling Festival 2013

2013 saw the Hibs take it’s first trip to Ireland and compete along side the Barley House Wolves in the first ever international hurling festival.Here is a news article about the Hibs: This was featured in Into the West magazine, Connacht Tribune newspaper and the Hoganstand.

New hurling regions to star at International Hurling Festival


AER Lingus in partnership with Etihad Airways, will host the first ever International Hurling Festival in Galway this September.

Sixteen overseas teams will participate in the competition including teams from New York, San Francisco, Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Australia. The tournament will also serve as an opportunity to promote the game of hurling in developing regions by including teams such as Buenos Aires, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and a European team made up of non-Irish nationals.

The qualifying games will take place in regional towns, Loughrea, Ballinasloe and Gort with the finals being staged at Pearse Stadium. This unique festival will also bring together the ‘Best of Irish’ with a full food, craft and entertainment schedule of events planned for Saturday 21 Septem- ber at the Salthill grounds.

Two of the teams travelling to the International Hurling Festival in September are Buenos Aries and Allentown (US), areas you would traditional associate with hurling, but areas that are now flourishing in a sport that is allowing their team and club to travel to Galway to take part.

In 2012, Connacht Hurling Director Damien Coleman under a directive from the GAA, was sent to Buenos Aries, to a small town called Hurling Ham, where he embarked on a two week adventure to energise the hurling club and deliver on coach education.

The Hurling Club, whose chairman Ronnie Quinn is third generation Irish has evolved from the rugby and hockey teams, the two main sports in this region and has an amazing 2,000 members.

“We went with a three pronged approach taking in the juvenile and adult section within the club. We delivered a foundation level coaching course through an interpreter, this was a first for me,” remarked Damien.

“There was serious interest from everyone at the club, to find out more about the game of hurling but also in technical side

of the game and its coaching techniques. Hockey is one of the biggest sports in the country and the coaches from these teams sat in and participated on the foundation course and were looking to see how the GAA coaching templates could in fact, benefit their game!”

From Damien’s trip, a three-month window was identified where the GAA season could run.

“This is a definite work in progress, the GAA season now runs for 8-12 weeks and already since the trip there has been three exhibition matches between Argentina and Ireland, these matches have lead to help the selection for the team to travel to Galway for the International Hurling Festival. In the last game the Argentinian Hurling team had their first win over Ireland which is showing the progress of their development.”

This potential of this project was spotted by Pat Daly, GAA National Coaching Director and through the two-week trip and the ongoing work by the club executive, hurling is continuing to grow and the fruits of this will be displayed during their time here in September playing in the International Hurling Festival.

Back in the US, The Allentown Hibernians Hurling Club was started early in 2008 when Pat O’Donnell met Jeff Purtell, who would go on to become the first club chairman. Jeff realized it may be possible to start a club after hearing about the success of other American-born hurling clubs in the US.

Hurling looked very appealing to him, however Pat had no idea what it was! Almost immediately the recruitment drive started. Jeff bought a couple dozen hurls and sliotars and they held their first team practice, at that time the team consisted of Jeff, Pat and Pat’s brother Danny. Things weren’t looking too promising!!

Things began to progress though and a few months in the club and team were now registered as a Junior C Division side within Philadelphia GAA. The team has continued to grow in numbers and in substance, hosting a tournament in 2011 and in 2012 with four teams playing.

Club Secretary John Driscoll explains: “For our club playing outside of America may be the greatest thrill ever. Many times over the years we have been told this sport will never be taken for real outside of Ireland. To be recognized by the GAA and Aer Lingus as a part of this great sport we are honoured. We intend fully to show that we are passionate about the sport and will compete with everything we have.

“With only three or four members who have lived in Ireland the club, this festival will give an opportunity for us all to experi- ence Ireland together! At the larger com- petitions there are chances to meet people who came from Ireland. These meetings gave many of our members their first chance to meet a true Irishman. Irish tunes are often played at our events.

“We put on an Irish fry after a Thursday evening round of games last year and served almost 40 people. The majority

never had tasted black or white pudding and a rasher before. We even count out our push ups in Irish to get a little of the language into our guys minds.

“The festival has definitely added an air of excitement but the selection process also added a certain stress level to the early part of our season. As things smooth out this will become a major topic of conversation. The opportunity to represent the United States of America in an event such as this is an honour.

“To go to Galway with its rich hurling traditions is fantastic. For many who are new to the sport the name Joe Canning is the first that comes to mind when we dis- cuss video clips we watched. To play in his county means a lot,” said Driscoll.

The International Hurling Festival will run from Wednesday 18 to Saturday 21 September 2013. For more information log onto,

International Hurling Festival Day 1

Arrived in Dublin and traveled across to Galway were we checked into the Galway Bay hotel in Salthill. After a short rest we went to the Spiddle GAA pitch were we had a challenge game against our host clubs Spiddle and Bearna/Na Forbacha. After the game there was a welcoming ceremony back at the hotel were we received a gift from our host club and were presented the team jerseys.

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International Hurling Festival Day 2

Headed down to Portumna where Joe Canning demonstrated the art of Hurley making at the Canning Hurl workshop.

First game of the tournament against Europe non-Irish at Castlegar GAA.

Opening ceremony parade in Loughrea.

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International Hurling Festival Day 3/4

Training session at pearse stadium with Sean Silke and Damien Coleman.

Game against Buenos Aries

Game against Denver/Indy

Finals at Pearse Stadium

Closing ceremony at NUI Galway

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Tournament Recap:



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