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What is hurling?

Hurling is a ball and stick game resembling hockey. Irish manuscripts make frequent reference to the game, tracing it back to the 10th century. The game was known in Gaelic as ioman, to 'urge' or 'drive forward'. Inter-clan and inter-parish matches were played for centuries before the game was established in its present form when the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884.

The hurl, usually made of ash, is 3 inches wide at the 'boss' or striking portion, otherwise it is similar to a hockey stick. The hurl is known as caman in Gaelic, the ball is called the sliothar. The caman is suited to both ground and overhead play, and every first-class curler is ambidextrous and can strike the ball from either left or right. Both sides of the caman are flat with a nicely balanced rounded handle.

The ball is 99 grams to 127.5 grams in weight and may be from 9 inches to 10 inches in circumference. The playing pitch must be from 140 yards to 160 yards long and 84 yards to 100 yards wide. Most first-class grounds are of maximum area and carry lines at 14 yards, 21 yards and 70 yards. In the scoring area the goal-posts are 21 feet apart, 16 feet high with a cross-bar 8 feet from the ground; a goal under the bar carries 3 points, and over the bar, 1 point.

There are 15 players in each team. The ball must not be thrown, it may be caught in the air, lifted off the ground with the hurl or hit directly on the ground. The duration of play is 30 minutes each half.

Hurling is an extremely fast game-speed, skill, courage and stamina are all essential.

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