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Hurling

Hurling (Irish: iománaíocht, iomáint) is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin.

An Overview of Hurling

The game has prehistoric origins, and has been played for 4,000 years. It shares a common Gaelic root with the sport of Shinty (camanachd), which is played predominantly in Scotland.

The objective of the game is for players to use a wooden (ash) stick called a hurl to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponents' goalposts either 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 hurl. 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.

Provided that a player has at least one foot on the ground, a player may make a shoulder to shoulder charge on an opponent:

  • who is in possession of the ball
  • who is playing the ball
  • when both players are moving in the direction of the ball to play it

Equipment

No protective padding is worn by players. A plastic protective helmet with a faceguard is mandatory for all age groups, including senior level, as of 2010.

Facts

  • A good strike with a hurley can propel the ball over 150 km/h (93 mph) in speed and 110 metres (361 ft) in distance
  • In 2012, the final of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship was listed in second place by CNN in its "10 sporting events you have to see live", after the Olympic Games and ahead of both the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Football Championship.

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