Friday, May 26, 2006

The Irish Sport of Hurling

Hunh. Here's one I never knew about before. There's a sport that's big over in Ireland, known as hurling. Two teams of 15 players each. The players try to knock a ball around with what looks like a cross between a hockey stick and a war club. The stick is known as a hurley, or in Irish Gaelic, a camán. The ball is called a sliothar, which I think is pronounced "slitter." Or "schlitter." Or something like that.

Three points for a goal, knocking the ball underneath the horizontal crossbar at the goal line. One point for knocking the ball across above the crossbar. Of course, there's a goalie guarding the goal. Curiously enough, the 3-point goals are not amalgamated into the score, so that for example the score could be 1-7 to 2-3 (one goal and seven points to two goals and three points), otherwise known as "one seven to two three"— what the rest of the world would call "ten to nine."

Players can run holding the ball in their hand, though for no more than four seconds or four steps. Or they can run for any distance balancing the ball on the hurley (I think the operative term here is "if you can"). Or of course they can hit the ball with the hurley. Fer crying out loud, they can even reach up and catch the ball in their hand as it flies through the air. It's a different sport, if you're used to the likes of hockey or soccer.

Hurling has also spread to the United States. On the Denver Gaels website there are some videos which explain the game pretty well: video one, video two, and video three.

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Blogger Richmond said...

Yet somehow when you have "Irish" and "hurling" in the same sentence I expect there to be "beer" or "whisky" mentioned somewhere....

Hmmmmmm... ;)

Friday, May 26, 2006 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Yeah, that connection had occurred to me, too... :-)

Friday, May 26, 2006 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger Fence said...

Hurling, fastest field game in the world. Especially as played by the great teams; Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and a few others.

The ball is pronounced slitter, like you'd "slit her" throat ;)

We use the same scoring in Gaelic football, I've never even thought about amalgamating it. Sure that'd make it too easy to figure out who was winning when its 3-11 to 2-19

At the moment the New York hurling team play in the Ulster league. And for once they actually beat an Irish team, which is a source of much hassle as they now don't want to play the next match in Ireland, but want the Irish team to travel to the states.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:08:00 PM  
Blogger Virgil said...

I was fortunate enough to be able to see an All Ireland semi-final match. It is by far the best spectator sport I've ever seen. Camogie is a women's version of hurling. Golf developed from the Scot's game of shinty which developed from hurling.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a visit to Ireland last year i saw Galway play Kilkenny. When played at the highest level it is simply without doubt the most incredible sport i've ever seen. The speed, bravery and most of all skill is incomparable. The players have in their hands the power to maim and even kill an opponent but instead their focus is of course of channeling their aggression and determination into their amazing ball-skills. I cant understand how it hasnt gained a larger international audience.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 7:05:00 PM  

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