North American Gaelic Athletic Association
The hurling season finishes in September with a national championships being held at a different city each year – San Francisco, Philadelphia and Cleveland being the most recent. About 100 clubs from across the country play for men’s and women’s titles at various levels in a 3 day tournament, with San Francisco and Boston usually among the strongest teams with the largest pool of resources.
The Ancient Irish Game of Hurling
When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling. It features in Irish folklore to illustrate the adventures of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.
Hurling is played with two teams of 15 players, literally battling it out, with sticks (hurley’s) and a ball – the object of the games is to get the ball into the opponents goal for 3 points, or over the cross bar for 1 point. It is played on a field 150 yards in length with a goal at either end. Hurling is the national sport of Ireland and regularly gets attendances of 80,000 supporters at games with counties and parishes competing against each other. It is also played across the world in places with large Irish communities and particularly in the USA, with cities like New York / Boston having numerous clubs in competition.