However, the game at Scottsdale Community College was an exhibition and certainly lived up to its promise. And, respective keepers Davy Fitzgerald and Brendan Cummins were not found wanting.
It marked the fifth overseas game since the Allstar tours were revived and with two having gone to the West coast of the US, Director-General Liam Mulvihill indicated that San Francisco was more than a possible venue for a future visit.Waterford's Eoin Kelly finished a popular winner of the man-of-the-match award, with a polished display which saw him contribute 3-8 to the 2002 team's 11-20. Long before the full time whistle, the speculation was more about who would finish top scorer than which side would triumph. And, at one stage, it was unsure if Kelly would finish ahead of his Tipperary name-sake on the 2002 team, or if fellow Waterford forward Paul Flynn would take the honours with the 2003 team. In the event, while Flynn finished with an impressive 4-3, that was four points below his team-mate's tally.
Winning manager Cyril Lyons commented: "It shows the level players can reach when they are relaxed and away from the pressure of championship and how really skilful they are. And we had some marvellous saves from the goalkeepers."
Eamonn Kelly, PRO of the North American Board was pleased that their first involvement in the organisation had helped deliver the biggest crowd (about 700) yet to see the Allstars in action. "We had teams from Boston, Chicago and San Francisco competing in a round robin championship and that helped create further interest," he commented.
The GAA's Director-General Liam Mulvihill was particularly pleased that the teams gave such an exhibition. "People love to see the goals and they certainly got their fill of them. It was always on the cards when the marking isn't as tight as it would be at home," he commented.
"We're really pleased with the overall impact. The West Coast doesn't tend to get the games most of them tend to be played either in Boston or New York."
Scorers for 2002 Allstars: E. Kelly (Waterford) 3-8; E. Kelly (Tipperary) 2-3; H. Shefflin 2-2; M. Jordan 2-0; K. McGrath 1-3; D. Lyng 1-1; K. Broderick 0-2; F. Hartley 0-1.
2003 Allstars: P. Flynn 4-3; J. Hoyne 3-1; J. Mullane and E. Brennan 2-1 each; T. Walsh 2-0; T. Griffin and B. Dunne 0-2 each.
2002 ALLSTARS: D. Fitzgerald (Clare, capt.); M. Kavanagh (Kilkenny), P. Larkin (do); C. Herron (Antrim), F. Hartley (Waterford), P. Kelly (Tipperary); T. Browne (Waterford), D. Lyng (Kilkenny); E. Kelly (Waterford), H. Shefflin (Kilkenny), K. McGrath (Waterford); E. Kelly (Tipperary), M. Jordan (Wexford).
Subs: P. Barry (Kilkenny) and K. Broderick (Galway).
2003 ALLSTARS: B. Cummins (Tipperary); D. Ryan (Wexford), N. Hickey (Kilkenny, capt.); O. Canning (Galway), L. Dunne (Wexford), J.J. Delaney (Kilkenny); T. Griffin (Clare),T. Walsh (Kilkenny); J. Mullane (Waterford), J. Hoyne (Kilkenny), B. Murphy (Offaly); P. Flynn (Waterford), E. Brennan (Kilkenny).
Subs: C. Cassidy (Offaly) and B. Dunne (Tipperary).
Referee: Pat O'Connor (Limerick).