Hurling is termed “The Fastest Game on Grass” and it combines a wide variety of skills, including those of baseball, lacrosse and hockey. It is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin dating back for over 3,000 years ago.
The object of the game is for players to use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponents H shaped goalposts. The Sliotar can be struck over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for one goal, which is equivalent to three points. The sliotar can be caught in the hand and carried for not more than four steps, struck in the air, or struck on the ground with the hurley. It can be kicked or slapped with an open hand (the hand pass) for short-range passing. A player who wants to carry the ball for more than four steps has to bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of the stick and the ball can only be handled twice while in his possession.
For a better understanding on how the game works please check out this great hurling introduction video clip.
To play hurling you need three pieces of equipment 1) Hurl 2) Sliotar (ball) 3) Helmet with face guard. If you are new to the sport and plan on coming to our beginner clinics, the club will provide all three for you to use. A Hurl, Sliotar, and helmet can cost about $100-$120 depending on what brand to buy.
A traditional hurl is made from ash wood, the base of the tree near the root is the only part used to make the hurley. It measures 28-40 inches in length with a flat curved end called the bas which is used to strike the Sliotar. More recently hurleys are being make from fiberglass (Cultec), they tend to be more durable but cost a little bit more then a traditional ash Hurl.
When selecting a hurley, choosing the correct size is very important as a hurley which is the incorrect length can be difficult to swing correctly. A rough guide is that the toe of the hurley should reach the players hip when the heel of the hurley is placed on the ground and held parallel to the players leg.
A sliotar is a hard solid sphere slightly larger than a tennis ball, consisting of a cork core covered by two pieces of leather stitched together. It resembles an baseball with more pronounced stitching and slightly softer.
The use of helmets with a face mask is the only mandatory protective equipment required in Hurling. You can also use a Lacrosse helmet or Ice hockey helmet with face mask if they meet the specific safety standards.