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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Irish Sport: Hurling

The stereotypical Irish jokes write themselves with the name of a national sport being hurling. But the great majority of utterly wasted folks in pubs were foreigners. But hurling has absolutely nothing to do with drinking.

The sport of hurling is something that cannot be explained and be fully grasped, it must be watched. I attempted to summarize it but check out DJ Carey {The Michael Jordan of hurling, or so I was told by some hurlers in Kilkenny.} and some other youtube hurling clips after the intro videos below:







Oh yeah, they don't get paid a dime for playing. They can do endorsements and that's it. It goes against all American ideals {Do something. Get paid.}, but it's admirable nonetheless. Hurlers have full time jobs and then train/play 40 hours a week at the highest level. Absolutely insane. There is also a women's league, but it's less popular, and the sport is called camogie. The money made by the GAA {Governing body of Gaelic sports} goes into development for the sport as well as cultural and community development. Hurling and Gaelic football {future post} were outlawed by the British in the early 20th century but continued to be played and resulted in the first Bloody Sunday at Croke Park {Which was fittingly the site of a major step to healing.}.

And one more odd rule that I can't wrap my head around is that the third guy in a fight will get sent off. Two guys can scrap a bit and it's cool, but even if the third man comes in to intercede peacefully, he gets punished. The thought process I guess is if you don't have a third in the fray, there will be no fourth, etc. {Clarified by Emmet in the comments.}

Guess that's a solid rule when you're having a few beverages to avoid doing some hurling of your own. But as wise Irishman Oscar Wilde said, "The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself." So that's what I'm-a going to do.

*If you came here for American football and are still reading, Notre Dame beat Navy 54-27 at Croke Park in 1996 and will return in 2012.

4 comments:

emmet said...

Love the post Walk On Boy. Quick explanation on the 3rd player off thing from a former player and ref.

Officially the rule is that anyone who commits a striking offence (as in hits a guy) is sent off. The problem being is that in an all out brawl it's kinda impractical to send everyone off. So refs usually tell the players beforehand that if there's trouble the third man in walks, like you alluded to the idea is to keep a fight from turning into a melee.

Oh and it's DJ Carey and yes the Jordan analogy is a good one.

Walk On Boy said...

Thank you Emmet. The DJ Carey will be fixed.

I was tipped to that by the Kilkenny U21 Hurlers in a serendipitous encounter after they won the Leinster crown.

Bee2636 said...

WOB...Hurling is gaining some
popularity in the US also.

Milwaukee and Madison, WI both
have clubs! The Denver area
and the Pacific Northwest also
have sizeable followings.

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