Minister of State Alan Kelly TD has hailed the Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival as a very powerful way of promoting hurling and Thurles.
He was speaking on Friday last in Thurles, as he launched the third annual Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival which will be held on July 12th and 13th, coinciding with Munster hurling final weekend.
This year’s festival is one of the two top events in North Tipperary which are part of the IPB Insurance sponsored, “The Gathering”, the national initiative to encourage Irish people abroad to holiday at home this year.
There are fifty such events in North Tipperary this year and the Minister said the Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival is viewed by his department as a core event for The Gathering. “It is great to see this festival going from strength to strength with teams coming from the United States, England, and Northern Ireland, to participate”, he said.
Liam O Donnchu, Vice-chairman of the organising committee outlined the festival events, the hurling competitions for the Tom Semple and Jackie Carew cup which have attracted sixteen teams; the eight-team camogie competition for the Helen O’Mara Cup; the Caman Abu, recreational hurling tournament which this year will feature inter-pub/businesses competition; and the inter-provincial road bowling competition which will be held on the opening day of the festival.
Michael Maher, Chairman of Sarsfields Club, said that the club was delighted that the festival was part of “The Gathering” this year and he especially thanked IPB Insurance, the main sponsors, Shannon Development, Lisheen Mines and other sponsors whose support enabled the club to stage the event. He welcomed the many guests, and in particular Anne Gunning and her husband Sean, daughter of the late Tom Semple, and his grandson, TJ Semple, a former player with the club. He thanked the organising committee under John Enright who had put so much work into the preparation for the festival.
Tipperary GAA Chairman, Sean Nugent, congratulated Sarsfields on the undertaking which he said was a tremendous success for the past two years. Wishing it continued success this year, he added – we need more initiatives like this in our urban areas.