Watch the video to the right for a summary. Although the inventor pronounces “sliotar” incorrectly, it is the most comprehensive explanation we have discovered. The following is a technical explanation of hurling, but the speed and athleticism are indescribable! A traditional sport in Ireland, hurling dates back thousands of years. It moves quickly, has big scores, and requires expertise. A typical Irish team has 15 players on the pitch. A standard American squad consists of 13 players. However, practically any number of players can participate in a game. Both teams strive to drive the ball down the field to score against one another after the throw-in that initiates the game. When watching or participating in your first hurling match, you’ll see that the game incorporates elements from various sports, including baseball, field hockey, rugby, and soccer. Players frequently use talents that necessitate agility, hand-eye coordination, strength, and teamwork.
The end of the stick, called a “hurley” is curled outward to offer a striking surface. The ball, sometimes known as a “sliotar,” is about the size of a baseball but is lighter and has raised ridges. Helmets are required for all players.
Although a team may play on any predetermined field size, hurling is played on a field that can be up to 145 meters long and 85 meters broad. Goals can be any size as long as the opposing sides have agreed, but the traditional goal is 21 feet wide and 8 feet high. As high as is practical, the posts rise over the goal on both sides. The goalie is present. To score, you must hit the ball over the crossbar, which is 8 feet high, and between the goal posts for one point, or under the crossbar and into the goal, which is worth three points.
The ball may be struck in the air or on the ground. In contrast to field hockey, you can only move with the ball in your hand for a maximum of four steps. The ball becomes your possession once you have it in your hand. After those, you can take another control and four more steps by bouncing the ball against the hurley and back to your hand. A player is only permitted to possess the ball twice in a single play unless it touches the ground, in which case two more possessions are allowed. A “solo” is when a player balances or bounces the ball on the hurley while running without any step restrictions.
The background of hurling
Hurling, the oldest field game still played in Europe, is renowned for being the fastest game played on grass.
In Irish history and myth, hurling is prominent. The Battle of Moytura, which took place in 1272 BC between the indigenous Fir Bolg and the invading Tuatha De Danann in County Mayo (in the West of Ireland), is the first instance of hurling that has been documented. Twenty-seven of each side’s top players agreed to compete in a hurling match as both sides were getting ready for war. Both teams engaged in a brutal battle, and after they were battered and broken, the Fir Bolg emerged triumphant and killed the Tuatha De Danann. Northern Gaels Hurling Club, source
The story of Cu Chulainn is told in a manuscript from the 12th century and explicitly uses the word camán, which is the Irish word for hurley. This is one of the earliest and, by far, the most renowned and well-known references to hurling. One of the greatest Irish mythological heroes, Cu Chulainn, is credited with a spectacular feat when, as a little child known as Setanta, he defeated a vicious hound by hurling his ball into the hound’s mouth. This is said to have been the beginning of his legendary exploits. He earned the moniker Cu Chulainn, or the Hound of Chulainn, for his exploit.