Hurling is a fast-paced Irish stick sport played on a field. It is played between two teams, with 15 players either side, in two 35 minute halves. The objective of the game is to progress the ball up the field to score one of two ways through an H-shaped goal post: in the net for 1 goal (worth 3 points) or through the upright posts for 1 point.
The stick, called a hurl or hurley, is long and wooden with a flat, broad base to strike the ball and balance the ball when soloing. The ball, called a sliotar (pronounced “slit-er”), is hard with stitched leather, similar to the shape of an American baseball.
Hurling is fast-moving like lacrosse, requires the same level of hand-eye coordination as baseball, and has the toughness of hockey, all in one sport.
What makes hurling unique is its speed, the length of the field (1.4X the size of a soccer field), and the ability to hit the ball on the ground and in the air. Along with hitting the ball on the ground and in the air, players can also hand pass the ball and solo the ball (meaning they can run with the sliotar balanced on their hurl).
Hurling is 3,000 years old and is the national sport of Ireland. It’s included in Irish mythology through the story of Cu Chulainn (pronounced “Coo Cullan”), a story of a young man named Setanta who defeated a vicious hound using only a hurley and sliotar. Internationally, hurling has seen rapid growth with a growing number of clubs around the globe, in particular in North America.
How many hurling clubs are in North America?
As of August 2021, there are 173 hurling teams in the US and Canada, with new clubs popping up all over North America.