Hurling is an incredibly active sport. Its activity level is close to something like lacrosse or soccer, and its hard not to feel a bit more trim after you’ve played a game — or ewent through your paces at a long practice on a humid summer night.
But it’s November now, and the sport, which is primarily played outdoors, tends to disappear from the landscape during the late fall, entire winter and first, icy weeks of spring. Obviously, it’s hard to play with snow on the ground — since the ball’s white and being able stop suddenly and change direction is kind of vital to the game. So that means a snowy football field isn’t going to be too conducive to playing.
Hurling, it would seem, and winter just don’t mix.Read More
It’s been a while since I updated, and you’ll have to forgive me for that. I’ve been wrapped up in personal projects and then my area of Pennsylvania had a few tropical storms roll in, which resulted in localized flooding.
The damage to my home was more of an inconvenience than anything, but enough to keep my mind off of hurling and all the excitement that happened in this great sport.
Heck, I haven’t even picked up my hurley in weeks. And while I’ve been putting in my hurling effort on the back-burner, the rest of North America has been picking up the slack
In early September, hurling and gaelic football teams from around the United States and Canada converged on San Francisco for the North American GAA Finals.
Here’s a look at some of that West Coast action, which included at least a few East Coast teams:
The games, by the way, didn’t include clubs from the New York GAA, because that organization is considered a separate “county.” That’s probably good since that area, which also serves some of New Jersey, is teeming with Irish-born talent that would likely crush the up-and-coming North American squads.
You can also read the experience of one of the GAA officials at the game here.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the 2012 North American finals will be held right here in Pennsylvania, with the Philadelphia teams serving as hosts.
A few weeks later over in Ireland, the big leagues held their finals. The 2011 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship was a rematch from last year as the Kilkenny team took on the lads from Tipperary. Don’t worry, I won’t reveal the end — just in case you missed it.
Here’s part one of an edited telecast of the game:
A while back, I pointed out the image of President Obama wielding a hurling stick, an image sure to be remembered for a long time among the hurling crowd. Likewise, I pointed out Queen Elizabeth’s ground-breaking visit to Croke Park, the hallowed ground of Irish sport.
Now I want to point you to two videos.
First up is a scene from “Blitz,” a new film by action star Jason Statham. Judging from his hurley skills here, I’ll be seeing it as soon as possible.
Please be warned, this video has swearing and, as one would expect from Mr. Statham, plenty of violence.
As you see here, a hurley can make an excellent weapon. Hurleys are made out of ash, an incredibly solid wood that’s extremely hard to break. They are vaguely modeled after an axe and/or a sword, so hurling players tend to hold them that way too.
In our next clip, the cast of “Grown Ups,” a film starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James are given a chance to mess around with hurling sticks during a press junket for the film.
It turns out that Chris Rock might just be a fine hurler. Can we get a Los Angeles team to recruit him?
Want more Hollywood takes on hurling, check out these entries:
(And while I’m at it, if you know of any other instances of hurling showing up in film, let me know and I’ll ferret out some video!)Read More
Limerick Township, Pa., welcome to your heritage.
The named-after-an-Irish-county township on the outskirts of Philadelphia is going to soon be the home of a field dedicated to gaelic sports. The field is being constructed by the Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association, which fields several hurling teams, and you can get an idea of what it will look like in this video, which includes a drive-through animation of the future park.
The U2-fueled video also prominently shows the Limerick nuclear power plant in the background. I bet that’s an odd site to many Irish players.
You can learn more about the site plans and see some pictures from the construction here. Donate to the site fund here. Find the site on this map. Finally, check out this page for more photos of Philly GAA’s on-site sign announcing the field here.
One can only hope that once the field is completed that the North American finals can be played there.
I actually discovered the video while on YouTube, where a subscription reminder told me that the North American GAA had a few videos on it. The GAA definitely needs to add more. Lots more.
In fact, a while back, I suggested that the North American GAA, the organization that oversees hurling and gaelic football in the U.S. and Canada, get with the times and embrace new media platforms. I only discovered later that they were already on Facebook and also on YouTube at the time, but only for a few months.
I just hope that the organization continues to add videos and Facebook updates. It will be one of the keys to raising awareness gaelic sports here in America.Read More