The History Of Hurling

The finals of the Gaelic Games 2019 are fast approaching, sonow is the time to get up to speed on the events you will come across. If you’re already invested in the Gaelic Games and wish to place a few wagers on the event, be sure to check out the All Ireland Hurling winner odds. At the Gaelic Games,you will find football (native and Irish) for both men and women, Hurling and Camogie. 

One of the lesser-known sports is Hurling so today we’ll fast forward your knowledge from the very beginning up to present-day games. Hurling is a traditional Irish sport, commonly found in the Emerald Isle but is played in other areas of the world, especially where there is a large community of Irish settlers. One thing you can guarantee about Hurling is that thousands of people will be watching as it is one of the most highlyanticipated events of the games.

Where it all began

Some might argue that Hurling is, in fact, the oldest sport known to man as traces of it can be found in Irish Mythology and it surpasses all recorded history as it is believed to predate the arrival of the Celts. For at least 3,000 years, Hurling has been a traditional Irish pastime that is enjoyed by both men and women (the women’s game is known as Camogie).

If you dive into ancient Gaelic tales, you’ll discover a hero named Cúchulainn who played Hurling at Emain Macha which is an ancient ceremonial monument. Fast forward into documented history, and in the 13th century a statue of Kilkenny forbids Hurling due to excessive violence – quite the contrary as Kilkenny is now considered one of the best teams in Hurling. 

Fast forward once more to the 17th Century where the first detailed description of Hurling came about from an English visitor, John Dunton – who compared it to the English game Pall-mall.

The Golden Age for Hurling

It was during the 18th Century that Hurling started to come into what we are familiar with today. In the South of Ireland, Hurling was starting to be played by landlords, fielding different teams of 21 players, placing bets against each other as a way to make more money using a wooden stick and a sliother (a ball of animal fur, which isn’t used today, although the modern-day ball is still called a sliother). In the south the game was highly anticipated and often drew large crowds of spectators, it involved competitions and tournaments. Whereas in the north of Ireland, it was played with the common folk, using a wooden ball and a narrow wooden stick – the sport never truly picked up in the north.

19th Century and onwards

After the big boom of Hurling had occurred, the sport faced the Great Famine, creating a huge decline in the sport and rift between the landowners of the teams. In both the north and the south the sport had died out except for three areas, Cork City, County Galway and Wexford. In 1884, the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) was formed in order to try and revive the sport. The game was simplified and created the way we know it today under Michael Cusack – the game caught on and Hurling has gone from strength to strength ever since. 

Teams have been created, and leagues entered. The sport has grown consistently for the last 100 years and is now played across the globe. The GAA World Games 2019 has fiveinternational teams participate in Hurling – Australasia, New York, Middle East, Europe Bears and Asia Cobras. 

If there is one sport to admire, it’s Hurling. For a sport that has been around for a long time and witnessed so much history, it could have easily faded away. Yet the Irish community has kept it alive and now is one of the most anticipated events at the Gaelic Games every year.

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