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Haley Callahan
Dr. DiSarro
ENG 101-05
9 May 2014
The Unknown Sport of Hurling
Hurling is an ancient sport in Ireland that everyone knows about. To the rest of the
world, most have never even heard of it. It is an unusual sport that looks like many sports
commonly known to people all mixed together. Many say it looks like hockey, lacrosse, or
even somewhat like baseball. The sport has been played in Ireland for over 3,000 years (A
History of Hurling 1). It has its own history, and is unique to Ireland. The game may seem
very complex with many rules, but it can be explained simply. Hurling is one of the biggest
amateur sports throughout Ireland.
Hurling is an ancient field game with Gaelic origin. The first reference to the sport
occurs around 1272 BC in the Battle of Moytura, in the County of Mayo. The game occurred
before the battle in many ancient texts (A History of Hurling 2). In the past, there were two
different types of hurling. One occurred in the summer, which is similar to hurling now.
There was also winter hurling, which was similar to hockey. The sport seemed to die down
when the United Kingdom took over Ireland. They did not like large organizations of the
Irish people because they feared that it was to make plans against the United Kingdom.
Also, many Irish people left during the famine. Therefore, there were less people there to
play hurling.
A main contributor to bringing back the sport was Michael Cusack. He organized a
team, which turned into the Metropolitan Hurling Club. They played another team on
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Easter Monday of 1884, but the game had to be stopped multiple times due to different
rules. Cusack then decided official rules to the game were needed (A History of Hurling 7).
The rules of the modern game were established in the late 19
th
century (Moriarty 1).
Hurling seems to be very complicated; but after watching the game for a little while,
one may be able to understand how to play. Each team consists of fifteen players with five
substitutions per game. The game usually is 70 minutes, which means two 35-minute
halves. The ball is called a sliotar and the stick is called a hurley (Hurling 4). One can score
by send the sliotar into the goal of the opponent or above the posts that look like a field
goal for football. When one scores in the net, it is three points; as apposed to above, which
is only one point. The ball cannot be picked up directly from the ground. It must be flicked
up with the foot or the stick. (Hurling 10) Also, the ball has to be passed with the hurley, or
slapped opened handed, not just thrown. A person cannot take more than four steps with
the ball in their hand. It must touch the hurley after four steps. The ball also must touch the
ground after three catching passes in a row. Three more fouls are putting the sliotar from
one hand to the other, hand-passing a goal, or throwing the hurley. (Hurling 10)
Hurling has a card system for a disciplinary system, much like that of soccer. There
are three different color cards a person can receive, red, black, or yellow. Red is when a
player is ordered off the field without a substitute. Black means the player has to leave the
field, but a substitution can be made. Lastly, yellow is just a warning for the player (Rules
and Regulations 1). In the rules it states that black cards be given for deliberate pulling
down an opponent, deliberate tripping, or body collide. Red cards can be given for striking
another player, kicking them, spitting, offensive language, and behaving dangerously.
Finally, the yellow card can given for blocking with the end of the hurley, called the boot,
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when an opponent is kicking the ball from his hand, prevent an opponent from lifting the
ball from the ground by striking the opponents hand, rough play, and faking a foul or
injury (Rule and Regulations 5).
There are many other rules and regulations to the game of hurling. It is a complex
game, but the basis is not hard to understand. Hurling is an important game to Ireland and
its history. The game returned after a rough time in Irelands history. The sport is a fast
past, outside game played on a field. Hurling is unique to Ireland. The amateur sport is not
known to many around the world, but loved throughout Ireland.

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Works Cited
"A History of Hurling." Heritage Hurleys. N.p., 2013. Web. 08 May 2014.
"Hurling." Seattle Gaels. Seattle Gaels, 2011. Web. 08 May 2014.
Moriarty, Colm. "Hurling, Its Ancient History." The History of Hurling. Irish Archaeology, 3
Sept. 2011. Web. 08 May 2014.
"Rules & Regulations." GAA.ie. GAA, n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.