Etihad Airways, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, will bring Abu Dhabi its first taste of Irish hurling, one of the world’s fastest sports, when it hosts the M. Donnelly Inter-Provincial Hurling Championship final. The Irish inter-provincial final is one of the biggest matches in the hurling calendar and will take place at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, between Abu Dhabi and Dubai when Ireland’s top two teams battle it out in the Abu Dhabi final.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president marketing and product, said, “This will be an historic occasion for both the UAE and Ireland and we are honoured to host such a prestigious event in Abu Dhabi.”
“There is a growing Irish population living in the UAE and I’m sure they will be joined by hundreds of sports fans on the day to experience first-hand this amazing sport. Having experienced the thrill of watching live hurling in Ireland I recommend any sports enthusiasts to come and watch this fantastic event.”
Christy Cooney, Gaelic Athletic Association President-elect added, “This will be a novel experience for our top level hurlers and everyone involved with the tour. Although some of the best Gaelic footballers played an All-Stars game in Dubai in 2007 this will be the first time top level hurling has visited the region.”
“It also presents us with another chance to reach out and interact with the Irish population in the UAE and especially those involved with the GAA. We see it as a further extension of the relationship with Etihad Airways that worked so well last year over the course of the hurling championship.”
Etihad is also a lead sponsor of the Gaelic Athletic Association Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, the country’s premier hurling competition. Twelve teams compete in a series of knock-out games each summer prior to the Liam McCarthy Cup in September played in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.
Hurling is a game similar to field hockey and is played with a small ball and a curved wooden stick, called a hurley. It is also said to be Europe’s oldest field game. The sport is an integral part of Irish culture and one of the fastest and most physical sports in the world.
In addition to the final of the M. Donnelly Inter-Provincial Hurling Championship, visitors to the Ghantoot Polo and Racing Club will be able to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment for all the family including the chance to hit a sliotar the game’s ball with a hurley.
Tickets for the final are Dhs100 on the day, but a 25%discount is available to those who buy tickets prior to match day. Children under the age of 12 gain free admittance.