Another look at hurling

Here’s a great video that really shows the skill and excitement of the game of hurling.

Now I know what you’re saying good reader: “Dude, it’s been months since your last post! Why now?”

Well, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been horrifically busy at home and work for nearly this entire year. Things are finally easing off, so I hope that I can finally return to doing regular posts here at Hurley to Rise.

So don’t give up on me just yet. I just needed a little time off, and that time is now over.

May my hurley rise again.

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Some amazing hurling trick shots

Just like basketball, baseball and American football, hurling has its own highly skilled players who make an effort to be entertaining as well as excelling at their sport.

Rather than spending time honing those skills in hour after hour of drills and athletic conditioning, they just try to have fun, and they have fun by figuring out unique and unbelievable trick shots they can make with their hurleys.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a number of cool trick-shot videos. The hurlers are young and old, and even though they aren’t on the field and scoring points, we’re still plenty impressed.

Hurling Trickshots from Shea Shannon.

Hurling Trick Shots: Part 2 by MattConlHotmailcom.

10 Hurling Skill Shots by Jack Harrington.

Now You’re Hurling! by Mairéad Mhaidhc.

Now let’s see some Americans rise to the challenge and make their own trick shot videos.

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Dig up hurling videos on YouTube

SEE IT PLAYED: Finding hurling videos on YouTube can be somewhat challenging. One tip is to look up videos featuring some of the game's best players, such as D.J. Carey.

SEE IT PLAYED: Finding hurling videos on YouTube can be somewhat challenging. One tip is to look up videos featuring some of the game’s best players, such as D.J. Carey.

Mike, a reader from St. Louis, chimed in with a few questions and comments about hurling. First up, he mentioned his efforts to find hurling clips on YouTube.

I’m brand new to hurling, just picked it up two weeks ago for a local club. I am in love with the game already, I have been watching clips on Youtube almost nonstop, and I can’t wait for the season to start.
When I first started this blog, YouTubers had posted very few videos on hurling. Or at least that’s what I thought. The real problem was that I was using the wrong search terms. “Hurling” is generally OK, but you won’t find a lot of game clips. It’s like typing in “football” and hoping to get Seattle Seahawks videos.
Since Americans aren’t terribly familiar with the sport, its terms, its teams or its legendary players, they have a hard time figuring out what keywords to use in their searches.
With American ignorance in mind, here some valuable hurling-related search terms for use on YouTube and the Internet in general:
  • “Hurling skills” -- There’s a series of Gaelic Athletic Association videos on developing basic skills of the game. These mostly feature kids learning, but in truth most Americans are at this level.
  • “Hurling drills” — Here you will find a few ideas for team drills you can run.
  • “GAA” followed by an Irish county name, “Kilkenny,” “Galway” “Cork” and “Tipperary” will generally get you the best clips.
  • “All-Ireland” will help you find some high-skill matches.
  • “Christy Ring,” “Eoin Kelly,” “Henry Shefflin” “D.J. Carey” and “Joe Canning” are some of the great athletes of the sport, all worth searching.
  • “RTE” coupled with hurling will find you plenty of great commentary on the sport. RTE is one of the broadcasters that carries the sport on Irish television.
  • “Hurling” coupled with “goal,” “free,” “puck,” “tackle,” “solo” or “sideline” will dig up some skill videos as well as some great game clips.

I’ll get to more of Mike’s letter next time, where he asks about offense, speed and on-the-field jitters.

Have you got a hurling-related question for Hurley to Rise? Even if I can’t answer it, I’ll find someone who can. Just send me an e-mail at

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A perfect time to introduce hurling

I was recently tipped off to this great video about hurling available on YouTube.

In it, Irishman Jack Murray talks at the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication about what makes the sport of hurling so enthralling.

For those already familiar with the sport, it comes across as quite charming. For those who aren’t they might be a little confused by a few of the elements he talks about. (What makes it so fast? You say it’s anyone can learn it and then have one of the world’s top athletes say it’s difficult later on. Which is it? And how do you play? Is it just about bouncing a ball on a stick? … and so on.)

Still, Murray brings up an important point: The Irish economy is in terrible shape, and that’s pushing many young people to leave the country in search of jobs. Ireland’s (unfortunate) loss does have a positive spin. Those Irish leaving the Emerald Isle are bringing their culture with them. They are arriving in cities around the world where the sport of hurling has never been seen.

To all the new Irish diaspora out there, I’d like to say a few things: Just because you moved away from home, don’t think you should leave your culture behind. Forget soccer, basketball, hockey, rugby or whatever else is popular at this new place. Hurling (and all the other unique aspects of Irish culture) is worth sharing. You may have been terrible at the sport compared to those on your county team back home, but you’re not now. You’re likely one your new home’s best players. You can be a wellspring of ideas, insights and instructions to those of us who’ve just discovered the game.

Get out there and share your knowledge. Share your enthusiasm. Start a new club. Introduce hurling to your new community.

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Robotic goalkeeper could flush humans out of the game

Two Japanese firms that actually share the same name have teamed up to do something unthinkable. They created a robotic goalkeeper.

Well, that isn’t terribly unthinkable, I suppose, but the fact that they made it out of a toilet is a little unfathomable.

The device is actually kind of ingenious. When a player kicks the ball, the SGTK (an acronym for Super Great Toilet Keeper) gauges the speed and distance of the incoming object and then fires its own ball out of the toilet basin. That ball follows an intercept path to deflect the soccer ball away from the goal.

In the video, it’s an impressive set up that’s sure to get a plumber’s heart racing.

Now of course, this is kind of a joke project, something done for fun to have a laugh. The company that made this also created a toilet-styled motorcycle, after all.

And although the limber loo seems unstoppable,  its not hard to spot see some of its football flaws.

  • The ball-launching john has to be reloaded, so it can’t stop follow up shots that have been recovered from a rebound.
  • It appears to be only able to defend when the ball is launched from the white circle on the field. That’s like saying you always have to stand directly in front of the commode when you wee. It’s no fun if you can’t test your accuracy from different angles and distances!
  • The SGTK may not be able to block a shot that flies in extremely close to the device. Although perhaps it would just rotate with its lid up and use that to block.
  • I also wonder how it might handle a ball that’s bouncing. Could it calculate the erratic nature of a ball that’s skipping along and losing velocity?
  • It doesn’t have any ability to recover the soccer ball and pass it to one of its non-commode teammates.

Despite all those issues, I can’t help but wonder how such a device might be useable for hurling or gaelic football.

Just think, it could:

  • Operate as a goalkeeper when none can be found, after all, no one really wants to be a goaltender.
  • Serve during practices and drills to help players develop their goal-scoring shots. They just need to remember to put the seat down when they’re done.
  • Save valuable game time by having a throne right on the field. (No more racing to the Port-A-Potty near the concession stand!)

Of course an SGTK would have to be entirely reconfigured to be used in a hurling setting. Hurling balls are much smaller, of course, but they also move a lot faster than a soccer ball. Maybe the SGTK could fire out a Frisbee-sized disc instead of a ball? Even better, have it fire a urinal cake — it would intercept the sliotar AND leave the field smelling fresh.

And converting the SGTK to gaelic football? No problem since it’s functions wouldn’t be that much different than it is in a soccer setting.

Even the cost is relatively club friendly. You can get one built for 600,000 yen, which is a little less than $8,000.

But then the question lingers — like the funk of Mexican meal on the way out — is $8,000 too much for a goal keeper or would we be flushing our money away?

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Galway and Kilkenny try again

Last Sunday, the greatest hurlers in the world met again on the field at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland where they played a second game in an effort to determine the All-Ireland Senior Hurling champions.

Originally County Kilkenny and County Galway battled on Sept. 9 in an effort to determine the champion, but that amazing game ended in a draw. Even though it ended with as a “sister kisser,” it’s still worth watching.

Anyway, here’s part one of the rematch. Links to the additional segments are below.

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