31 May Watch GAA Hurling Gaelic Sport in Barcelona
GAA Hurling Gaelic Sport
Hurling is one of Ireland’s national sports, otherwise called Gaelic games. It is a field sport involving fifteen players on each team. Players use a wodden stick called a hurley try to drive the ball (a sliotar in Irish) over or under the crossbar of a goal to score either points or goals respectively. There is a similar game for women called camogie.
Hurling is one of the fastest field games in the world and the rules are complex. To summarise, a player when traveling with the sloitar must carry it on the hurley. He may then hit the sloitar with the hurley, kick the sloitar, or hand pass it to another player by hitting it with his palm, but never throwing it. The sloitar can also be played on the ground. However it must be picked up from the ground using the hurley. Hurling is a contact sport and highly physical, although very little padding is worn by players. The wearing of protective helmets was only made obligatory in the 1990’s.
Hurling is played around the world. Indeed any where the Irish have travelled and settled they have brought it with them. Hurling has even featured in the Olympic games, albeit as an unofficial sport in the 1904 games in St. Louis, Missouri. It is recently gaining in popularity once again due to the internationally available sports TV channel, Sky Sports, showing the sport regularly.
In Ireland, hurling is played at the club level but players also play for their county. County hurling could be described as the games top flight, where its elite play. Hurling is still an amateur sport, although in recent years with players making large sums of money through sponsorship, this fact could be debated. Every year, counties in each of the four provinces in Ireland take part in a county championship as part of the All Ireland Championship, which is national. Winners of the provincial titles qualify for playoffs to end up in the All Ireland final. The playoff system has been made more complex in recent years due to the uneven demographics of where hurling is played in each province.
GAA Hurling Gaelic Sport is principally played in the south of Ireland and mainly within the province of Munster. Although the county which hold the most titles, Kilkenny, is found in the province of Leinster. Other counties where hurling is traditionally popular include Galway and Antrim and popularity is growing in counties such as Dublin.
The story of hurling is older than recorded history and it forms part of Irish mythology with evidence of it being played up to three thousand years ago. There are many legends surrounding the game of hurling. The best known of which talks about the the warrior Setanta (Cú Chulainn) and his amazing ability with the hurley and sloitar. Hurling also has its place in late 19th Century Irish Nationalism and the gaelic revival. With the founding of the GAA in 1884, hurling became the associations principal sport. Local hurling clubs and training sessions were also used as cover up operations for paramilitary organisations during the Irish War of Independence
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