What exactly is hurling?

Hurling is an Irish team sport played with a small ball and a wooden stick (Hurley) (a Sliotar).

It has many similarities to Gaelic football, including the field and goals, the number of players, and much of the language.

It is usually played on a rectangular grass pitch between two teams of 15 players, yet in North America, we play smaller games to accommodate the lesser sports facilities available.

Hurling positions are comparable to those in other team sports, with one goalie, six defenders, two midfielders, and six forwards, as well as a variable number of substitutes. These figures will vary depending on the size of the accessible field.

When we play indoors in the winter, we usually play with seven players per side, and when we play outside in the summer and autumn, we usually play with nine players per side.

Playing Instructions

  • Unlike in other sports, when players from each team line up in their respective halves, Hurlers players start the game on either side of the half and pair up with a player from the other team. Each team’s midfielders, for example, will line up together at the field’s centre line. The other team’s forwards will line up in front of the goal, while the fullbacks will line up alongside the opposing team’s forwards. On defence, you’ve been paired with a player from the opposing team, and you’ll be “covering” that person throughout the game.
  • The player must lift the ball off the ground and into their hands with their Hurley; they cannot pick the ball up off the floor. The ball can only be advanced for four seconds or four steps by the players.
  • Following four steps, the player must strike the ball with their Hurley, slap it with an open hand (the hand pass), or kick it. They can also choose to bounce or balance the Sliotar on Hurley’s end and move with the ball in this manner for as long as they choose.
  • However, while the ball is in their possession, the player can only handle it twice. After the player has taken the ball into their hands a second time, they must play it without touching it.


The “block,” in which a player tries to smother an opposing player’s strike by trapping the ball between their Hurley and the opposing player’s swinging hurl; and the “hook,” in which a player approaches another player from behind and tries to catch the opposing player’s Hurley at the top of the swing with their own.

The “side pull,” in which two players chasing the Sliotar collide at the shoulders and swing together to win the tackle and “pull” (the name given to turn the Hurley) with tremendous force.

What is the best way to score?

There are two kinds of scores in this game: points and goals.

  • As indicated by the umpire waving a white flag, Kicking or hand-passing the ball over the crossbar earns you a point.
  • When the ball is kicked beneath the crossbar and into the net, the umpire signals a goal by raising a green flag.

Hurling is played worldwide and is particularly popular among the Irish diaspora in Argentina, as well as among locals. Particularly in areas like Montreal, where baseball and hockey have provided some new players with a few essential transferable skills.

Due to the lack of a professional league, today’s players are unpaid amateurs. It is a way of life in many parts of Ireland. It has appeared in a variety of art mediums, including film and literature.

CNN ranked the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final second in its “10 sporting events you must see live” list, behind only the Olympic Games ahead of the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Football Championship. More people are falling in love with the game since there are more options to watch it outside of Ireland, with the decision to start showing hurling matches on Sky Sports in the UK, causing a stir on Twitter and infrequent showings in Canada and the United States.

Gaelic games are highly popular in Montreal. Hurling is a regular staple in the Montreal shamrocks calendar. The city hosts a yearly tournament in May, with teams from Eastern Canada and parts of the United States competing. In addition, events will be held in Ottawa, Quebec, and Toronto during the summer, and the Eastern Canadian Championship, which is organised by the Eastern Canadian GAA board and moves every year, will be held in Ottawa, Quebec.


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