Get Inspired: HURLING

Hurling shares elements with lacrosse, hockey, baseball and football.

A 15-a-side game invented and popularised in Ireland, hurling sees players use a wooden stick called a hurley to move a small ball, or sliotar, around the field.

You can catch the ball in your hand or scoop it up off the floor with your stick, and hit the ball with either the stick or your hand. You can also use the stick to block others.

To score, hit the ball between the opponents' goalposts - over the crossbar gets you one point, and into the net below the crossbar scores three.

Why is it good for you?

Hurling prides itself on the fast pace of its action, so you will certainly burn calories, but the sport also rewards dexterity.

One of the skills, for example, is balancing the ball on the stick while running, and you will also develop good hand-eye coordination.

Get involved

Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is the governing body for hurling. The GAA's Just Play  website offers video guides to the game as well as places to play and contact details.

The Provincial Council of Britain GAA  looks after hurling in England, Scotland and Wales and has details of clubs and events.

History

The GAA claims hurling was already a feature of Gaelic culture in Ireland as the last Ice Age was receding, with references to the game extending back thousands of years.

In the 19th Century the Irish Hurling Union and, later, the GAA produced the first sets of formalised rules.

Hurling has had only one, brief flirtation with Olympic status. At the 1904 St Louis Games, hurling was featured as a demonstration sport alongside basketball and baseball, both of which would later earn berths on the full Olympic programme.