Irish hurling

The third most popular sport in Ireland, hurling is a team sporting activity - considered the fastest team sport - whose origins date back to the 7th - 8th centuries during the time of the Gaels. Similar to Gaelic football which is a combination of rugby and European football, hurling is governed by rules similar to this one. Renowned for being a more or less violent sport, Irish hurling today has hundreds of thousands of practitioners around the world.

The origins of hurling

The practice of this sporting activity dates back a very long time, particularly to the 7th century. However, the oldest written reference to hurling dates back to the 5th century. It appears in particular in the ''laws of Brehon''. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the practice of this sport was banned due to its brutal nature. Later towards the end of the 19th century, two variations of hurling emerged. These are Iomaint which was practiced in the south of the island and Camànacht which was found in Dublin. This is how Camànacht was associated with field hockey while Iomaint became the ancestor of modern hurling.

The rules of hurling

First of all, a hurling team is made up of 15 players including 1 goalkeeper, 6 defenders, 2 midfielders and finally 6 attackers. In addition to substitutes, a team's squad can be around 30 players maximum. The total number of substitutions allowed during a match is 5.

Each player has a stick made of ash wood whose length is between 75 and 90 centimeters. The stick is called "hurley" or "camàn" . As rugby has its oval ball and tennis its yellow ball, hurling has the "sliotar" , a leather ball weighing approximately 100 grams. Since it is a sport where brutality is not foreign, the players wear a helmet which, however, is not essential. A bit like rugby, confrontations between players are sometimes rough, which inevitably leads to injuries. But in order to make the sport less violent, elbow, hip, punch and kick strikes are prohibited and also sanctioned by the referees, of whom there are 8.

The normal time for a hurling match is 70 minutes or 2 times 35 minutes, during which time the players try to place the sliotar in the opponent's goal from their sticks or their toes. Furthermore, the ball is neither thrown nor picked up from the ground with the hand.

As for the land, it is 140 meters long and 80 meters wide. In other words, hurling pitches are much longer than football pitches. On the other hand, they are less wide. The goals of hurling are similar to those of rugby (H-shaped) and European football. Players therefore have the possibility of scoring both in the cage where the goalkeeper is located for 3 points and between the two posts above the crossbar for 1 point.

A traditional and national sport of Ireland, hurling is a team game played around the world. Despite its violent aspects, it is no less amusing. There are also some major competitions in his name.

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