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Casey questions Boston exhibition

By Declan Bogue

Published 24/11/2015

Launch of Nicky Rackard, Lory Meagher and Christy Ring Cup Competitions, Croke Park, Dublin 23/4/2015
Longford's Martin Coyle, Eanna Ó Néill of Kildare and Damien Casey of Tyrone
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Launch of Nicky Rackard, Lory Meagher and Christy Ring Cup Competitions, Croke Park, Dublin 23/4/2015 Longford's Martin Coyle, Eanna Ó Néill of Kildare and Damien Casey of Tyrone Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Tyrone hurler Damian Casey has questioned the need for the GAA and GPA to tour Boston last weekend to stage the 'Super Elevens' exhibition hurling game between Dublin and Galway.

Played at the home of Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, the promotional tour drew the ire of some GAA figures, not least Monaghan player Dick Clerkin, who tweeted that the "carry-on in Fenway" was an "embarrassment… Those lads should be ashamed of themselves".

And Casey, who captained Tyrone to the Nicky Rackard Cup triumph of 2014, feels that some of the money used to push hurling in barren areas might be better used in growing the sport in Ulster.

"It's not a bad thing going to those places. You are going over there and you are putting the sport on show for Americans as well as the Irish, and people might not have seen it before," Casey reasoned.

"For me, it is the best sport in the world, but it needs spreading.

"On the other hand, I understand that charity begins at home, for want of a better phrase. There are arguments for and against it.

"I don't disagree with the promotion of the sport, we have the best sport in the world and it needs to be seen all over the world.

"At times it is hard to know what the thinking is, and it can be very frustrating.

"In 2014, we won the Nicky Rackard and earned promotion from our league. You could say it was a great year for Tyrone hurling. In 2015 we wanted to push on and needed a bit more support from the county board, but unfortunately it just didn't happen."

The trip was defended by high profile GPA figures such as Donal Óg Cusack. He wrote in a newspaper column: "When Dublin and Galway run out onto Fenway to play Super Elevens, the occasion will be the result of a lot of things coming together over the past few years.

"This format of the game and the venue together make a special cocktail which provides us with a platform to present hurling to larger audiences."

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