The two All-Ireland SHC third phase qualifier ties – Wexford v Cork and Limerick v Clare – will be part of a triple header of matches in Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co.Tipperary beginning next Saturday.
GAA fans travelling to Thurles, this Saturday July 14th, will have the opportunity to watch two make-or-break hurling clashes, along with the All-Ireland SFC second round qualifier between Tipperary and Wexford. The football game has been moved forward to a 3.00pm throw-in time, with Wexford meeting Cork at 5.00pm and the Limerick-Clare Munster derby topping the bill at 7.00pm.
To add to this festival attraction, there are no admission charges to the Thurles Sarsfield’s International Hurling Festival games which will be played throughout Saturday July 14th at venues: St Patrick’s College, Morris Park and Sarsfield’s outside pitch.
Chairman of the Thurles Sarsfield’s International Hurling Festival, Mr John Enright, wishes it to be known that by not having an admission charge, the club is hoping that the general public will turn out in large numbers to support their teams, who will arrive in Thurles from the United States, Europe, England & closer to home Northern Ireland as well as from counties where hurling is less predominant. Thousands of sporting visitors are expected to visit Thurles, European Town of Sport 2012, this weekend.
Chairman John Enright stated: “This is one of many ways of promoting Thurles not just as a top sports venue, but also a tourism venue promoting our rich heritage, long kept secret over generations. I am confident the people of Thurles will give our visitors such a welcome, that their experience of Thurles will be a memory never to be forgotten & encourage them to return again & again, into our midst.”
Of course the official opening of this festival takes place on Friday night beginning at 8.30pm in the Sarsfield’s Social Centre, beside Semple Stadium and will include a concert by members of Tipperary Comhaltas, their musicians, singers and dancers. Once again admission to this event is totally free. Competitions get under way on Saturday morning so as not to spoil the fun for those wishing to attend the All-Ireland qualifier games in Semple Stadium on Saturday evening. The prestigious Semple Cup will open proceedings at Morris Park and Sarsfield’s outside field at 11.00am, while the Carew Cup competition (losers section) will follow later.
Mrs Anne Gunning, daughter of Tom Semple, will be on hand to present the Semple Cup, dedicated to her late great father.
The European hurling and camogie championships are being played at the St Patrick’s College, sports grounds, also beginning at 11.00am. The Ursuline all-weather pitches will also be occupied with the staging of wheelchair hurling and the Caman Abu (recreational hurling), due to kick off around mid-day. The Inter-provincial Road Bowling competition for the Cusack Cup, plus under age bowling competitions will be played on the Cormackstown Road, just on the outskirts of Thurles, near the Holycross Road junction & beginning at 11.00am. Special arrangements for parking are being put in place in that area for this event.
Among the distinguished visitors expected to visit the festival are the President of the GAA Mr Liam O Neill, Minister of State for Sport and Tourism, Alan Kelly TD, & Mr Brian Keating (Shannon Development & European Town of Sport 2012 Promoter & Main Sponsor).
Promotion of this free week-end festival of sport is expected to cost Thurles Sarsfields in excess of €10,000, so to them go our gratitude.