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Hurling – the world’s fastest team sport

Hurling is a team sport that is considered the fastest in the world. This sport originated in Ireland, where it is much more popular than soccer. In other European countries this sport is practically unknown and hardly anyone has heard of it. Why is hurling called the fastest team sport in the world?

History of hurling

Hurling is a team game, which originated in Ireland from prehistoric times. This is when it was most likely played by the Celts, but the first historical sources that tell of the sport date back to around the 5th century AD. Records of hurling can be found in the Irish code of laws, which was written at that time and is called the Brahon Law. It is interesting to note that a figure from medieval or prehistoric times referred to as Meallbreath accurately describes the penalties that any player must be prepared to face if he injures an opponent in several games. Their description is very much related to hurling, so historians believe that it was in those years that it began to be popularized among the public.

A breakthrough and at the same time quite interesting for hurling is the period of the 16th century, because the Lord Chancellor, which is one of the most prestigious offices and still functions today, made a complaint about English soldiers, telling that they played hurling and spoke Irish. In the 18th century, the first hurling teams began to form, and in 1887 a league was formed. 17 years later hurling was officially introduced to the world during the Olympic Games in Sant Louis. Matches were then played, which were referred to as demonstration sports.

What are the rules of hurling?

Hurling is described as the fastest game in the world, due to the specificity of the match played. It should be added, however, that it is a sport that ranks among some of the most brutal. People who have poor conditions are unlikely to look for anything on hurling fields, because they will be very quickly beaten by the players of the opposing team. An interesting fact, however, is that hurling is a game for men only. Women can compete in camogie, the female equivalent of the fastest sport.

Why is hurling so fast? This is explained by the rules, which are simple and show the dynamics of the game. Two teams of thirty players face each other on the playing field. For each team there is one goalkeeper, six defenders, two midfielders and six attackers. Roles on the field are strictly defined by the coaches, so the players must follow the tactical guidelines set by the coaches. In the case of amateur teams, similar assumptions to those known from soccer apply.

The goalkeeper and defenders are supposed to focus on defense, while the attackers are supposed to focus on offense. The midfielders act as the link between the formations. Special sticks and a ball are used to play the game. The size of the field is 140 × 90 m, which is much larger than a soccer field. The teams aim to hit the goal, which looks just like the one in rugby. If a team hits it under the crossbar, it gets 3 points, and if it hits it over the crossbar, it gets one point. Players on both teams have the option of catching the ball in hand, carrying it on a stick, or even kicking it. Importantly, this can take no longer than four seconds or four steps taken by a given player.

Hurling in Poland

Hurling in Poland is not a very popular sport, therefore it is in vain to look for teams specializing in this game. Admittedly, in 2009 a hurling team was created, and for Galician soccer, but due to the size of the squad it was difficult to complete a team to play matches. Matches could be played on rugby pitches, which are abundant in Poland, but the interest in this specific sport is so small that now… there is no one to play.

This is a piece in Polish promoting GAA and encouraging people to participate within the Gaelic games. Polish language,…

Published by Bonnar Ó Loingsigh Monday, 28 December 2020

Featured photo: Seaninryan / Wikimedia Commons

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