Hurling and Gaelic Football

There are a lot of Irishmen at the hostel at present. And like a lot of true Irishmen they love their native games.

Hurling - canadiana backpackers Inn toronto hostelsOne of our guests goes outside to play with his “Hurley” and “Sliotar” which I suppose corresponds to the hockey stick and puck in our National Sport. He brought these things to Canada with the hope of finding a team to join.

Damien is here on a working/holiday visa and, as a result, intends to be here for the better part of the year. Sadly, he found out that no one participates in the sport of Hurling in Canada.

In Hurling, players use an axe-shaped wodden stick “Hurley” or “Hurl” and a ball called a “Sliotar” (pronounced “Slitt-er) to try to put the ball over goalposts for a point or under the posts for three points.

The sport predates the recorded history of Ireland and is arguably the fastest team sport in terms of game play. As one of Ireland’s native Gaelic Games, it shares a lot with Gaelic Football such as; the field; goals; number of players and a lot of the terminology.

Fortunately, they do play Gaelic Football here in Canada. Damien and another Irish working visa lad by the name of Paul have each joined one of the six Toronto area teams. Paul is heading off to Ottawa this weekend to play a team located in the Capital City.

Gaelic Football has certain similarities with Australian Rules Football or “Footie” as he Aussies call it. The field is a different shape and the ball isn’t the same either.

Apparently, there are enough similarities that an “International” form of the game can be played (with modified rules).

Like “Footie” Gaelic Football can get pretty rough. So we’ll try to get a photo of Paul when he comes back from Ottawa if he’s all banged up!

Hurling - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Downtown Toronto Backpackers Youth Hostel

A typical defensive formation in Gaelic Football; but, to the untrained eye has all the tactical sophistication of a street fight!