What is Hurling?

“Hurling – a game for the Gods and Gods play it”

Hurling (Irish: iománaíocht) is one of Ireland’s National Sports. It is the world’s oldest, fastest and many say most skillful field sport. The game is steeped in history and features in many Irish stories and legends over the last 3,000 years – the game’s history even extends further than the island of Ireland’s recorded history.

Hurling is played with a wooden stick called a hurley (camán) and a small hard leather ball (sliotar), helmets with faceguards are also worn. A hurley is made from the base of a native Irish ash tree which gives it great strength & flexibility and is between 60 and 90 cms in length depending on a player’s age and size. The game is played by teams of 15 on a large rectangular grass pitch. The female version of the game is known as camogie and is very similar to hurling, with just a few minor rule changes.


The objective is to score goals (cúl) or points (cúilín) against the opposing team. H shaped goal posts are used with a goal awarded if the attacking team score under the crossbar and a point awarded if they score above the crossbar. A goal is worth the equivalent of three points. Typically the game is played over two halves of 35 minutes each and the team with the highest score at the end of the match wins.


Irish emigration in recent centuries has exported the game to every continent and it is now played in over 400 GAA clubs in more than 100 countries. Every year, international competitions happen all over the world.


Every summer, the All-Ireland Championship kicks off and teams from the 32 counties of the island and abroad battle it out in five different competitions with relegation and promotion between competitions every year – they are The Liam MacCarthy Cup, The Joe McDonagh Cup, The Christy Ring Cup, The Nicky Rackard Cup and the Lory Meagher Cup. The Liam MacCarthy Cup culminates in a final played in Croke Park in August played in front of more than 80,000 spectators.

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