What is Hurling?

The basics

Hurling is an outdoor team game of Irish origin. It is the fastest field sport in the world. It has pre-historic roots and has been played for over 3,000 years in various forms. The stick is called a 'hurl' (or 'hurley') and is used to hit a small ball called a 'sliotar' (slit-ar).

The goal is H shaped. The objective of the game is to hit the sliotar into the goal (like a soccer goal) for 3 points, or over the bar (an American football style uprights) for 1 point. A player can carry the sliotar in their hand for 4 steps only (or 4 seconds) and then has to strike it or balance the sliotar on the end of the hurl, or hand pass it (not throw it!). Players will catch the sliotar (slightly softer and small than a baseball) with their bare hand. All players are required to wear a helmet.

In Ireland, games are played with 15 players. In our games in the US GAA Northwest Division tournaments, games are generally played with 7, 9, 11 or 13 players with differing field lengths, depending of the number of players each team has available on the day of each tournament.

If all of that looks a bit crazy & difficult to you, the good news is that skills from games such as hockey, baseball, tennis, golf and lacrosse are transferable to hurling and will help you pick things up quickly.

The only essential equipment to get started is a hurl and a helmet, but we have plenty of both available to beginners so just bring yourself and we'll bring the rest.