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.

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

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Watch Galway v. Kilkenny’s 2012 hurling final

Once again, the HurlingGoals YouTube channel has offered up a complete broadcast of one of 2012′s best games of hurling. This is the senior championship matchup between County Galway and County Kilkenny. In fact it proved to be such a great game, they’re planning a sequel on September 30! (You’ll understand what I mean by the end of this game.)
So until then, enjoy the show. http://youtu.be/oBx7ZsjziHQ

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Scenes from the 2012 hurling final: Galway v. Kilkenny

The big All-Ireland Senior Hurling final ended in a shocker — the first draw since the 1950s. That means that Kilkenny and Galway will battle it out in another full game for the title of all-Ireland winner. Ironically, the same happened in the minors.

The replay game has been set for Sunday, Sept. 30.

CANNING: As expected, Galway’s Joe Canning was pivotal for his team, scoring the county’s first goal.

CANNING 2: A look at Canning’s shot on goal in the first half.

WHISTLES: There were plenty of “frees” in the game. Early on Kilkenny missed most of their efforts to score points, often going wide of the goal posts.

KICK STARTED: In the second half, Kilkenny finally came alive with a strong run to catch up to Galway.

SHEFFLIN: Kilkenny’s man of the match was certainly Henry Shefflin, who evened up the game in the 50th minute. From then on, Galway was kept busy catching up to Kilkenny. The game ended in a tie, meaning the teams will play again on Sept. 30 to determine the winner of the All-Ireland.

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2012 All-Ireland Hurling finals: Before the game

CROKE PARK: The stadium hosting the the 2012 All-Ireland Hurling Championship quickly filled up toward the end of the minors match as the crowd geared up for the seniors battle between Galway and Kilkenny.

As the Minors Hurling match was closing down, the stands at Croke Park began to fill up as all of Ireland settled in to watch the 2012 All-Ireland Seniors match between Galway and Kilkenny.

In the minors match, the stadium in Dublin had only filled to about one-quarter of its capacity. But by the end of that game, which leads directly into the seniors match, the crowd had blossomed to more than 80,000.

As the seniors game broadcasters and analysts hit the field, the crowd proved too noisy for them to even hear well, as they started to clutch their headphones to hear one another.

BIG CROWD: Just before the game started, the hurling teams marched into Croke Park stadium and broadcasters announced that more than 80,000 spectators had shown up for the game.

Before the start of the game, their was a short pregame show featuring a procession of the two senior teams, flags from every county in Ireland. The most amusing sight was two balloons that carried massive flags for County Galway and County Kilkenny.

BALLOONS: The pregame show featured an advertisement for a tourism event in Ireland set for next year. “The Gathering” is meant to draw in a Irish diaspora from around the world. Two floating balloons featured the flags of Kilkenny and Galway.

After theatrics with the flags, the hurling teams assembled on the field for a minute of silence — but I didn’t hear for what. After that rather noisy minute, the game commenced.

QUIET PLEASE: The massive crowd on hand could be seen during the moment of silence before Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling final between Galway and Kilkenny.

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It’s time again for the Super Bowl of hurling

Killlkenny Scorecard

GOING FOR FIVE: This graphic was created by the Irish Independent, a national newspaper in Ireland. See the full story on Kilkenny here: http://www.independent.ie/sport/hurling/evolution-of-drive-for-five-2319500.html

You may not have noticed this, but there’s something out across the Atlantic, and it’s not Hurricane Earl. Over in Ireland, hurling, the sport this blog is dedicated to, is making big news as that country’s two best squads are prepping for the 2010 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

To you and me, that’s like the Super Bowl of hurling.  As with the 2009 Championship, the two teams are Kilkenny and Tipperary. If Kilkenny, the favorite, wins it will be the fifth straight title for the county.

Not to be outdone though, we Americans are playing for our own title this weekend.  Hurling teams from around our country are gathering this weekend in Chicago for the North American Championship.

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