A star-studded cast of county hurlers from Munster and Leinster departs today for the US with the support of Aer Lingus where they will compete in the GAA/GPA Celtic Champions Classic 11-a-side hurling tournament in the famous University of Notre Dame on Saturday.

The unique short-form of hurling – Super Hurling 11s – is designed to showcase the game to a new audience in the US and with over 100,000 spectators due on the University campus for the Fighting Irish College football clash with arch rivals USC Trojans, this presents a wonderful opportunity to promote hurling abroad.

The group is headed by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill and GPA chairman Dónal Óg Cusack who has been involved in the development of the goals-only hurling format, played on a shorter pitch and using the newly-designed yellow sliotar.

The Munster panel, which will represent the University’s ‘Fighting Irish’ and managed by Donal O’Grady and Tom Barry, is backboned by Limerick players with All-Star nominees Tom Condon, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahony, James Ryan and Graeme Mulcahy in the mix.

Leinster, managed by Kilkenny’s Martin Fogarty and Galway’s Mattie Kenny, will represent ‘Ireland’ and the line-up includes Kilkenny aces Jackie Tyrrell, JJ Delaney, Tommy Walsh and Richie Hogan while All-Star hopeful Liam Rushe of Dublin will be hoping to reverse the previous Super Hurling 11s set-back against their Munster rivals in the recent Aer Lingus/Etihad International Hurling Festival.

Galway hurling referees Alan Kelly and Christopher Browne will officiate at the game.

The travelling party departs for Chicago today where they will train in Gaelic Park before being honoured at a reception in the city hosted by the Irish Consulate. On arrival on the South Bend campus on Friday, the players will visit two schools as part of Notre Dame’s ‘Play Like a Champion’ Programme.

The ancient roots of hurling and lacrosse will be celebrated with the visiting hurlers engage with the Notre Dame Lacrosse squad while the hurlers will also be presented at the famous ‘Pep Rally’ on front of 10,000 Fighting Irish fans as they prepare for Saturday’s big game.

The Celtic Champions Classic, which has been warmly embraced by the Notre Dame sporting community, will take place in the Arlotta Stadium during the build up to Saturday evening’s football game and will be central to the game-day itinerary and tailgate activity. 

Panels for Celtic Champions Classic

LEINSTER (Ireland)

1. James Skehill (Galway)
2.  Jackie Tyrrell (Kilkenny)
3.  JJ Delaney (Kilkenny)
4.  Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny)
5.  Liam Rushe (Dublin) 
6.  Lee Chin (Wexford)
7.  Aidan Harte (Galway)
8.  Cathal Parlon (Offaly)
9.  Davy Glennon (Galway)
10. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
11. Niall Healy (Galway)
12. Neil McManus (Antrim)
13. Jack Guiney (Wexford)
14. Shane Dooley (Offaly)

MUNSTER (Fighting Irish)

1.  Nickie Quaid (Limerick)
2. Donal O’Grady (Limerick)
3. James Ryan (Limerick)
4. Gavin O’Mahony (Limerick)
5. Graeme Mulcahy (Limerick)
6. Paudie O’Brien (Limerick)
7. Tom Condon (Limerick)
8. Declan Hannon (Limerick)
9. Wayne McNamara (Limerick)
10. Eoin Kelly (Tipperary)
11. Lar Corbett (Tipperary)
12. Patrick Maher (Tipperary)
13. Paul Curran (Tipperary)
14. Shane O’Sullivan (Waterford)