Cllr Séamie Morris welcomed another group of sports tourists, Winnipeg Wasps Rugby Club, who celebrated the club’s 50th anniversary in style by visiting Tipperary’s Premier Hurling Experience.
The 47-member strong Canadian group were in Nenagh’s McDonagh Park to learn for themselves the skills associated with hurling.
After the skills session, a Puc Fada competition was held. This is part of the Experience and is very popular with the participants.
The winner was Thomas Pharazyn, though only by a few centimetres in a close and energetic competition. He won a hand-crafted hurl made in front of the group by local master-craftsman Phil Burke.
How many other competitions are there where the prize doesn’t exist before the competition, and the winner gets to see his prize being made and customized for him as he watches.
So far this year four rugby clubs from Canada have chosen Nenagh as a destination for their annual tour, bringing over 200 people in all. After each tour, those same people return home with locally made – and purchased – sliotars and hurleys.
“Just as importantly, they bring stories of the skill and art of our ancient game,” said Cllr Morris.
“Initiatives like this show what an imaginative approach to employment can bring. These groups don’t just fly in and out on one day. They bring much needed business to the wider area, and to the State generally,” he said.