Irish Sport – Hurling

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From the moment we stepped off the plane and got into our taxi, we learned how much pride the people of Ireland take in their national sports. Our cab driver, who acted as a tour guide himself, pointed out Croke Park, the national sports stadium. He also let us about the upcoming Hurling Championship rematch that would be played there.

After a couple days in Dublin, our driver, Ray, picked us up to escort us on the rest of our trip. It was the day of the Hurling Championship rematch between Counties Galway and Kilkenny. We kind of forgot about it until he mentioned that it would be taking place on that beautiful Sunday afternoon. We asked questions about this sport we new nothing of and Ray’s eyes lit up when Rob said he’d like to stop and watch it, maybe over lunch and a couple of pints.

That’s exactly what we did.

What was nice is that we didn’t just watch the game, we learned all about it. Ray explained the scoring and how the game worked so we could follow it. That’s much more fun than just having a game on in the background!

It’s a sport played on a field with a small ball and a stick called a hurley. The ball is picked up and thrown with the hurley, but the hands can touch the ball only in certain circumstances.

Each team attempts to score points by putting the ball through the goal posts. The goal has both uprights {like rugby or American football} and a net {like soccer or hockey}. For this reason, there is a goalkeeper on defense.

When the ball goes between the uprights, over the crossbar, the team scores one point. If the ball goes below the crossbar into the net, the team scores a goal. A goal is equal to three points. However, the points are not displayed as totals. Instead, they are listed  as the number of goals to the number of points.

For example, in this final championship, the final score was:

Kilkenny: 3 – 22

to

Galway: 3 – 11

This means that Kilkenny made 3 goals at 3 points each as well as 22 additional single points for a total score of 31 points.

Galway, on the other hand, also made 3 goals at 3 points each, but only scored 11 additional single points for a total score of 20 points.

However you’ll never see the score posted 31 to 20. It’ll always be shown as it was above. We never would have understood this watching the game if it weren’t for Ray!

This game was much more fast-paced and higher scoring than I had imagined. There are two halves that last just 35 minutes each. There are no stops for commercials or anything else, really. It just keeps moving. I love this. After a good hour and a half, the game was over. Short and sweet compared to an American Football game!

The Irish are very fond and proud of their sports. I completely understand this as a Green Bay Packer fan. The history of the sport was displayed in one of the Folk Museums we toured:

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Hurling is believed to be one of the world’s oldest field games.

Now we are just waiting for the next Hurling season. We are looking forward to finding an Irish Pub in the Twin Cities that will televise it.

Come back tomorrow to find out about another sport part of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

What unique sport would you like to attempt?

Sláinte~
Carrie

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4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Celebrating Gaelic Football « Season It Already!

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