Just hours until the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship — We mean it this time

You can catch the first game of the Kilkenny-Tipperary hurling championship on YouTube. Even though it ended in a tie, it's worth the watch. The replay is Sunday, September 28, 2014.

You can catch the first game of the Kilkenny-Tipperary hurling championship on YouTube. Even though it ended in a tie, it’s worth the watch. The replay is Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Well, in case you thought you missed the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship game, I’m here to say you did — and you didn’t.

The game a few Sundays back did indeed happen, and it was an amazing show. http://youtu.be/1RpPtgzPY_o

Here it is, in fact:

Now I don’t mean to spoil it for you, but it ended in a tie. And it wasn’t a sad, boring tie like you see in hockey. No, it was a nail-biting tie that was fought until the very last minutes.

The thing is the last few championship games have ended this way, and it goes to show the driving nature of the sport. This is a game you can play with your heart as well as your skills.

When the championship game ends in a tie, it doesn’t mean there’s co-champions either. It just means that the teams get a two-week rest and then play a rematch. If they tie again, there will be another rematch. Heck, this could go on forever.

That match is set for tomorrow, Sunday, September 28. In America, you can see it on the GAA Go platform. There’s probably other ways to see it live as well, but that’s what the Gaelic Athletic Association is promoting.

The extended championship has also allowed for a little boost for the sport here in the U.S. — The Washington Post blog Early Lead did a feature on the game and its players in its Early Lead blog. Check it out!

Read More

The hurlers kept going without me

While I’ve been mostly skipping hurling for this year, and prospects seem slim for any real hurling action in the immediate future, my enthusiasm for the sport hasn’t dimmed.

It’s still a great game to watch, as you can see in the above clip.

Even though I’ve been sitting on my kiester, the world of hurling has continued to move forward. Just the other day, I got a request to add a new team to my list of U.S. clubs. Welcome aboard, Richmond! (And if your club isn’t on the list, let me know!)

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Check out the Gaelic Athletic Association matches coming up in Boston.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Check out the Gaelic Athletic Association matches coming up in Boston.

Likewise, the North American clubs are getting ready for the yearly championships. This time, GAA players from across the continent are traveling to Boston, where they will be playing at the Irish Cultural Center over Labor Day weekend. The event, organized by Boston and the North American GAA, promises to be be bigger and better than before.

Over in Ireland, county clubs are working their way through the All Ireland, the championship series of hurling. The semifinals featured Kilkenny vs Limerick and Cork vs Tipperary in the last week or so, with powerhouses Kilkenny and Tipperary making it to the Sept. 7 final.

WORLD COVERAGE: See what's happening with GAA teams from around the globe in Gaelic Sports World

WORLD COVERAGE: See what’s happening with GAA teams from around the globe in Gaelic Sports World

Beyond the game itself, the real story in Ireland is that Sky Sports, the British broadcaster is offering coverage of many Gaelic Athletic matches. That means that some Irish viewers haven’t been able to see broadcasts of their key games. At the same time, the games are being broadcast in the greater UK as well, resulting in some mixed reviews from British sports fans who are more accustomed to their own brand of football, rather than gaelic football and hurling.

Also since I’ve last written, a new digital magazine has launched. Gaelic Sports World, helmed by Gaelic Sportscast’s Denis O’Brien, is a publication dedicated to gaelic sports from across the globe. (You can even see my name in the magazine as a writer.) Check out the latest issue here.

Meanwhile, America is getting ready to invade Ireland with its own game of football. The Croke Park Classic, set for Aug. 30, will feature American college football teams in the historic Irish stadium. The match will pit Penn State against the University of Central Florida in a very unique setting that’s sure to pique many Americans’ interest in the gaelic games. Check out this post for a detailed look at the game announcement and a gaelic sports primer for Americans.

So, like I said, it’s been a remarkably busy time, even without me taking time to blog about it.


Read More

Author: The gaelic games are ‘Waiting to Launch’ in America

Eamonn Gormley, a fellow whom I’ve thanked numerous times for his amazing “Fastest Game on Grass” video, has just completed a new book on the gaelic games, where he offers a plan to push hurling and gaelic football into the global mainstream — and that, of course, means bringing it to America as well.

BRING IT ON: Eamonn Gormley's new book "Waiting to Launch" provides an outline to introduce hurling and gaelic football to a wider American audience.

BRING IT ON: Eamonn Gormley’s new book “Waiting to Launch” provides an outline to introduce hurling and gaelic football to a wider American audience.

Titled “Waiting to Launch: The Untapped Global Potential of Gaelic Games,” the book was published as an 185-page e-book late in February 2014 and already has several five-star reviews on Amazon.

Gormley, who hails from Lurgan in County Armagh, came to the U.S. to work in Silicon Valley and soon became one of the North American County Board’s key people — serving as the national public relations officer and serving as the Western division chair. He also starting up a national collegiate league and served as its chair.

With those experiences, he saw how quickly Americans took to the sports and he began to wonder why the GAA  failed to bring their sports to an international audience.

“Two things need to happen first,” Gormley said in an chat interview. “One is to get a national governing body established and to stop this silly partition between New York and the rest of the country. The other is to get the games onto mainstream cable networks at peak viewing time in an edited highlights show with American presenters and American production designed to appeal to first-time viewers.”

Gormley said that bringing GAA competition to a U.S. cable network would only cost about $5 million, and he expects the GAA could throw in $1 million. From there, he believes corporate sponsors could put together the rest.  “Entirely achievable,” he said.

Gormley isn’t fooling himself though.  He agrees that getting them on TV would just be a step to a larger goal. “(It) would raise their profile out of obscurity and while it may not put them on a par with soccer, it would at least put them in the same league as lacrosse or rugby,” he said.  “If we could make them Olympic sports that would be ideal, but that’s a medium to long term project.”

He talks even more about the book in an interview with the Irish Examiner.

Here at Hurley to Rise, I also wrote a series of posts on what the GAA needs to do to introduce the gaelic games to a greater American audience. Check out the stories here:

Between you and me, I’m stoked to read Gormley’s book. My series was just hitting on some ideas I had on my own. Gormley, on the other hand, has been in the trenches with the organization and dealt with its politics. Without a doubt, he’s got a better grasp on the GAA, its failings and potential. Don’t pass up a chance to read “Waiting to Launch.”

Have you read the book yet? Got any ideas for a GAA American initiative? If you do, leave a comment below.

Read More

Chris O’Dowd: Actor and gaelic sports hero

COMEDIAN: You can see Chris O'Dowd in "Bridesmaids" and "Thor: The Dark World." One of his early British TV series, "The IT Crowd" is available on Netflix.

COMEDIAN: You can see Chris O’Dowd in “Bridesmaids” and “Thor: The Dark World.” One of his early British TV series, “The IT Crowd” is available on Netflix.

It can be difficult to get a good grasp on the sports of hurling and gaelic football for Americans. We don’t have any frame of reference for the games. We’ve never seen a movie that focuses on the gaelic games. We can’t watch them on TV. There’s never been a video game based on them — well never one that was released in the states.

These sports are just totally off our radar on a national cultural level.

So it was interesting to see the video where minor Irish celebrity Chris O’Dowd, a featured actor in movies such as “Bridesmaids,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Thor: The Dark World,” talk about his views on gaelic football.


And as you saw, O’Dowd isn’t just a fan. O’Dowd actually played gaelic football as a goal keeper. Representing County Roscommon, he played throughout his “high school years” and eventually in the post-school Under-21 divisions. While he was in the Under-21 division, he manned the goal for Roscommon in the 1997 Connacht Minor final against County Mayo.

So, we have Chris O’Dowd on our side. That’s good. But who else?

Are there other Irish actors and musicians that are fans of the gaelic games? Let me know.

Read More

Straight from Ireland — The best hurling of 2013

It’s the end of the year, and since you can’t find too many hurling clips of American squads in action, we’ll turn to the bonafide experts of the game over in Ireland.

First up, we’ll start with this video from the GAA as it highlights the best goals of 2013. http://youtu.be/IXO7L8u-3gY

Next we can look at the 10 greatest hurling moments according to the broadcasters of the Sunday Game. http://youtu.be/ajeagHCk15g (Warning, this is a bit of a long video thanks to the great intro.)

If you don’t mind some gaelic football mixed in with your hurling clips, then check out 2013′s best tackles in the GAA. http://youtu.be/RBiDK5NHsIo

But hold on a minute … we do have a few American clips to show you!

Eamonn Gormley, who brought us the fantastic 1-million-plus viewed “Fastest Game on Grass” video, hit the fields in Cleveland, the host of the 2013 North American County Board finals and brought us two great videos.

First up, we have the camogie champs. http://youtu.be/QyyJsSxMqnE

Then take a look at this compilation of moments from the NACB finals weekend.
We especially enjoyed the lengthy interview with GAA president Liam O’Neill. http://youtu.be/OjqIcuG80is

And of course, why not relive the All-Ireland hurling final. The championship was settled in a replay match between County Clare and County Cork. Their first attempt to determine the year’s champions ended in a draw, so they had to play it again a few weeks later. This is the entire un-edited game. http://youtu.be/Rv9FGy9MqOY

Read More

Hurling squads must keep their websites active

Keep your hurling team's website active by posting something -- anything -- new at least once a month. Once a week would be even better. (And yes, Hurley to Rise needs to do the same!)

Keep your hurling team’s website active by posting something — anything — new at least once a month. Once a week would be even better. (And yes, Hurley to Rise needs to do the same!)


Visit the Baltimore GAA website at www.baltimoregaa.com or “Like” them on Facebook.

For the last few weeks, the Baltimore Gaelic Athletic Association has adopted a unique way to get the word out on hurling.

Over at the GAA website, the team has been posting player profiles. On week 1, visitors got to meet Mike Assad. Week 2 introduced Mei-Lin Fegan

The Q&A format lets the spotlighted player have a bit of fun too, thanks to questions such as “Best thing to shout at a game?” and “What would your wrestling name be?”


Offerings such as these posts from the Baltimore GAA can help your club too. In particular, they can make your website seem less static. If you post one a week or just one a month, it’s better than leaving a two-month old story as your top article.

In fact, posting anything new once a month is better than having your site sit unaltered for months at a time.

Sure, you still need to have some obligatory information on your site — practice times, invites for new players, game schedules and the “What is hurling?” text — but all of that should be buried under links. You want to give people an opportunity to wander around your site and get to know you.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions on what to post to your team site, and all of these can be done in 10 minutes or less.

  • PLAYER PROFILES.  To gather them up, send out a mass e-mail to your players and tell them to have fun. (Ask them for a picture too!)
  • HURLING VIDEOS. Not your videos, but videos from YouTube. There are quite a lot too. Here’s some ideas on what to look for in your hurling videos.
  • PRACTICE AND MATCH PHOTOS. Post one or two at a time to spread it out over several months.
  • QUICKIE EXPLANATIONS. Tell people what a sliotar is. Explain a rule. Just add something — anything — new.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA. Post snippets, links and teases to your social media locations on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and whatever other services you maintain. Remember, your posts don’t need to be more than a few sentences. Just keep feeding them!
  • FUNDRAISERS. Yes, it would seem obvious that these would be posted in an easy-to-spot location, but often times they are not. Just list the standard requirements: Place, time, date, cost and description.

Again, this helps keep your website looking fresh and lively. You don’t want it to look like you created it in 2003 and then forgot about it ever since.

Likewise, it shows your club is still vital and out in the community.

Read More