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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Rare treat for hurling fans: A complete hurling broadcast from Ireland

It’s extremely rare for U.S. residents to get a chance to see a full game of top-level hurling. Usually, we can only find short clips on YouTube. Lucky fans might have a local pub that carries some games that are broadcast from Ireland. And a few of us are even willing to fork out some money to buy viewing rights to watch them in their home.

But lo and behold, someone at the YouTube channel HurlingGoals has opted to load the entire 2012 Leinster final to the site. For that, Hurley to Rise and the entirety of hurling fans in America say “Thank You! … And please give us more!”

Go ahead, activate the full screen and enjoy a great game. http://youtu.be/vai3Gzd-ilw

 SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read anymore if you want to be surprised by the outcome. The likely reason HurlingGoals loaded this game is because the team who won wasn’t supposed to win. Yep, everyone one expected Kilkenny to totally blow away Galway, but superstar Joe Canning lead his underdog team to a monumental win. Great game, guys!

 

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A belated wrap-up of the hurling championships

Blaming the rough economy in Ireland, some fans decided tickets for this year's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in Dublin's Croke Park were left unsold. For more details, click the image.

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 event was hosted by the San Francisco Gaelic Athletic Association. The winners list can be found here.

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:

 

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Hurling should be fun first

Here in America, when hurling enthusiasts get together, we talk about how great the sport is and how we can make it grow. We want to show everyone we meet how great the game is. We want them on the field and having some fun.

CLASH OF THE ASH: Hurling is a field sport a lot like lacrosse and was developed in Ireland. If you're interested in playing the game, do a web search of the word hurley or camogie and your nearest big city or university. (Art by John Simcoe)

But over in Ireland, the country where hurling was born, there’s a different sort of talk. The Sports Desk Blog of the Irish Examiner does a good job in summing it up the constant drumbeat of angst:

The fact is hurling is elitist. There should be no shame in that. It’s an art-form, something that can only be performed by a minority because it takes years upon years of mastering. That’s why it’s such a treasure.

It’s a fanciful thought to believe every boy and girl in the country is going to puck a ball. It should be that way but hurling can’t and will never be that game simply because it’s so difficult to play. Not enough people have the patience to pass on or absorb the skills.

Such talk continues on to complain that hurling is a sport that will be continually dominated by just a few regions because no one else can even consider catching up — Kilkenny and Tipperary counties are just too good to even bother stepping on the pitch when they’re your opponent.

That dominance, they say, is what’s killing the sport. People aren’t interested in watching the game, and they certainly aren’t interested in learning the almost-cryptic skills needed to play. These issues are draining the life right out of the game, they say.

Hogwash, I say.

Here in America, we are just playing hurling for the fun of it. Someday, we might have clubs to rival the greats. But until then, we just play because it’s an incredible way to spend an afternoon.

We may not have even a sliver of the skills of the Kilkenny Cats or Tip’s Blue and Gold squad, but as long as we’re having a good time, we’re gonna keep having a go at it.

I would suggest the Irish naysayers do the same. Just get out there. Get better at the game and keep the sport alive.

You don’t need to win a championship to play a sport.

You just need to be willing to walk out on the field.

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