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 john@johnsimcoe.com

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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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Hurling field in the works for Philadelphia

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.

TWO FIELDS: The Irish Sports Complex in Limerick Township, Pa., will house two playing pitches, locker rooms and spectator stands for hurling and gaelic football games.

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.

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Converting America (Part 4): Embrace the new media

Welcome to Part 4 of my series about how the Gaelic Athletic Association can increase interest and participation in their sports here in America. Now on to the entry …

In America, and I would assume the rest of the world, the youth culture has whole-heartedly embraced technology. Whatever is new is what they want.

BIG CROWD: GAA games in Ireland regularly fill thousands of seats.

If the GAA, the international governing body of the Irish sports of hurling and gaelic football, wants to capture an American (and world-wide) audience, it must dive into these technologies and make their sports the sport of a new generation. The first step, of course, is to actually be available to that generation, and the GAA has clearly bungled that effort.

But all is certainly not lost. The GAA can turn things around in a matter of months if acts quickly, and here’s a game plan for them.

  • Build a feeder website – For most of the world, hurling and gaelic football are an oddity. In fact, it’s not too crazy to assume that most of the world has never even heard of either sport. The GAA needs to change that, and the best way is to build a multi-language “feeder” website that lays out the basics of the sports, without going crazy on the details. It should entail a snapshot of the sports’ history, a basic guide on their rules, some videos of each, a checklist of items you need to play and a simple storefront for basic supplies. Once you’ve got this, promote the heck out of it at Irish festivals, Irish bars, the Olympics, sporting events and anywhere else that seems appropriate.
  • Get a YouTube channel. Get a Twitter account. Get a Facebook page – I am still puzzled why the GAA doesn’t have (or at least doesn’t advertise) accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Each of these are vital to reaching out to the tech-savvy crowd. On YouTube, regularly post quality videos of match highlights. On Twitter, pump up big games and venues where Americans can see them. On Facebook, promote local clubs, highlight key matches, point out equipment suppliers and create a general push for hurling and gaelic football.
  • Freshen up the North American GAA site — Go on, take a look at the North American GAA site. It’s not a disaster or anything, but it certainly is boring. The site needs a new look, daily fresh content and be made to clearly promote its sports.

    ONE STEP BEYOND: The GAA app for iPhone looks great, but what about Android users? And how about something for those who play the sports instead of catering only to spectators?

    It also needs an updated guide on the clubs that are currently active. If the Irish GAA needs to take over the site, so be it. Once things get working right, it could hand it back to the North Americans.

  • Build a gaelic games app – (Updated from my initial entry) Smartphones and their so-called “app programs” are huge. The GAA desperately needs to reconsider the app they have available for their sports. It shouldn’t be a simple scoreboard program. It certainly  needs to provide scores, but it should also house player profiles, team histories, international activities, game rules, videos and coaching tips. Or better yet, make an app for each of those categories and for both sports. Frankly, the GAA needs to go a step further and help those trying to play their sports, not just an app for spectators. Additionally, the GAA needs an app for the other big platform — Android-brand phones.
  • PLAYSTATION 2 GAME: In 2007, Transmission Games published a hurling video game, which included an instructional DVD for real-life players.

  • Keep building video games – Back in 2007, a company called Transmission Games came out with a few video games: One featured hurling, two featured gaelic football, and I believe a fourth came out that combined the two gaelic games on one disc.  (There’s also a game advertised here, but I know of no other information on it.) Unfortunately, all the Transmission Games publications got terrible reviews and only worked on Region 2 Playstation 2 consoles.  Regardless of their initial reception, the GAA should subsidize the development of new games and make them available on a worldwide market. Sure, they won’t be big sellers, but their very existence might convince video game junkies to put down the controller and pick up a hurley. In this case, any recognition of your sport is good.
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