Sunday, July 12, 2009

NKY Sportsworld: Ireland Edition - Hurling

Galway, Ireland:  This doesn't quite make the list of sports you would see people playing in Northern Kentucky, nor see many people gathering at the local watering hole to watch on Sunday.  Hurling is kind of like lacrosse, kind of like, hockey, and distinctly Irish.  It's intense, physical, and a heck of a lot of fun to watch.  Before, I get in to the rules of the game, some general observations about Irish sports are needed.

Irish sports are fierce.  This is not the Cristiano Ronaldo, Ginobili, act-like-I'm-dying-to-draw-a-foul crap.  The most popular sports here are rugby, hurling, Gaelic football (which might be another post), and soccer.  I should note that even though they don't take many dives in soccer, it's still not very good play.  Professional athletes are often not paid and they play for the teams in the county in which they live.  Because the money isn't in Irish sports the way it is in others, you don't see any Steinbrenners or Russian oil tycoons ruling running the show and there is much more pride in hometown teams.  

Hurling is considered the fastest sport on grass.  It's played on a 130m x 90m field, or pitch, with a ball kind of like a baseball and all of the players have big clubs they use to whack the ball up and down the field.  Each side tries to either get the ball through either a) a goal that looks like a soccer net, or b) a field goal that is mounted on top of the soccer-like goal.  If you get it in the net, it's worth three points, else it's worth one through the uprights.  Even though players are not allowed to hack at each other with their clubs, there are a fair amount of clubbings on the field.  In fact, as a defensive strategy, the players often try to run through an opponent's swing as he's trying to hit the ball instead of laying back or jumping up in the air (I told you they're intense). 

Here's a video of some highlights... don't mind the music.


SHU said...

That looks pretty cool. But really, couldn't you find a video with better music.....I mean, Ben Utecht sings better than that.

Wojo said...

I know. Sadly, that was the best video I could find that showed good highlights. There's another video on YouTube that has some good hits if you look for it.

I also forgot to mention that teams do get beat by 21 points on an every now and then basis. Maybe the Reds should look into a new sport!

Adam said...

Thanks for the International post Wojo. I hope that Ireland is treating you well. We are looking forward to your safe return! Sport looks a little crazy. I would imagine that the internet helps keep somewhat in touch with sports and local news while you are there. I don't think they are too concerned with Andre Smith's potential hold out there. I am curious as to how much US news that they cover, and do they ever discuss US sports?

Adam said...

I just watched the video, that game looks kind of intense. What are some typical scores? Looks like getting 1 point may be fairly easy but I would imagine the scores are fairly low scoring. It looks like you wouldn't get too many opportunities to score.

Wojo said...

They keep separate track of the 3 pointers and the 1 pointers in a way that a teams final score may be something like 4-21 where the 4 represents the number of three pointers and the 21 represents the one pointers. So, a score of 4-21 equals 33 total points which would be a little on the high side of the game.

Most matches I've seen are like a 3-17 beating a 2-10 or something in that range. Although, it's also not uncommon for a team to get no goals in the net and still come out victorious. Usually, you have to put up a good 20 pts through the uprights to win though if that's the case.