September 11, 2015

SO, THAT AND GUINESS:

The hurling heroes of Ireland (Diarmaid Fleming, 9/04/15, BBC News)

Hurling is a bruising, sometimes bloody sport. In the Middle Ages the English banned the Irish from playing the game but in more recent times it has experienced a resurgence. On Sunday, a nation will be transfixed as Kilkenny and Galway fight it out in the All-Ireland final.

To its disciples, hurling is as much a sacred cultural jewel as it is a sport, the finals are epics which unveil or confirm the nation's sporting heroes. It's a fusion of legend and history - from mythology when the boy hero Setanta faced two teams on his own and won, to the modern game developed in the 1880s by the Gaelic Athletic Association to help rally Ireland's youth in the drive for independence a century ago.

Trying to describe hurling in words is a bit like attempting to explain a performance at the Bolshoi Theatre to someone who's never seen ballet, but I'll try. Fifteen men on each side lash a small cork and leather ball, or sliotar, distances of up to 100m with ash sticks, on a pitch a bit bigger than a soccer or rugby field.

Posted by at September 11, 2015 7:55 PM
  

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