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Hurling: A Traditional Irish Sport

Have you ever wanted to play a game that seems to be the bastard child of soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey? Well then, the traditional Irish sport of hurling is for you!

Hurling (Irish: Iománaíocht/Iomáint) is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for over 3,000 years, and is thought to be the world’s fastest field team game in game play.

The object of the game is for players to use a wooden stick called a hurley (in Irish a camán, pronounced /ˈkæmən/ or /kəˈmɔːn/) to hit a small ball called a sliotar /ˈʃlɪtər/ 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 players can either carry the ball, balance it on the stick and run, kick it, or smack it across the field with their stick. (thanks, Wikipedia!)

The game was hosted at Mardyke Arena, UCC’s recreational facility, outdoors on their huge field.  The weather was actually quite nice, mostly overcast or sunny with only slight raining.  I parked myself behind one of the goals and spent the game snapping shots and trying to figure out what the rules were.

During halftime, a game for the younger players was held, which was both adorable and remarkably violent (which I guess is true for all sports, not just Ireland).

I commend the players on their uniform, although the weather was nice today, I can’t imagine wearing those shorts in the rain.


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