Haha, thankfully nobody threw up today, but did you know that hurling is the name of a very popular sport in Ireland!? Today we had the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about the Irish sports Hurling and Gaelic Football from some club athletes. But before we tell you the funny stuff, let’s start at the beginning.
HCFH woke up bright and early to roll out on the lovely terrace above TGI Fridays in the brisk morning before a team run with Cory along the Liffey River to Phoenix Park! Fun fact: Phoenix Park is bigger than Central Park in NYC. At the park we did some speed and strength work, and ran back to our hotel. Steph and Brenna got in trouble with the hotel for trying to eat complimentary breakfast again.
After our exciting exercise, much of the team began their afternoon free time by shopping and galavanting around the city. Then, the team did what they do best. Eat! They took in the best that Dublin’s food market had to offer.
The team then took a bus to a field near the coast where Dara and Aylish, 2 GAA club players, along with our tour guide Dave, showed us the ropes in hurling and Gaelic football. Gaelic football is similar to soccer, but with many additional ways to touch the ball besides just your feet. They use a slightly heavier and harder ball, you can use your hands to pick up and pass the ball like a volleyball, and you can score goals not only into a soccer goal but also by kicking the ball through a field goal! And – there is much more physical contact. Practicing this sport was very fun and Sydney excelled at the field goal contest.
Hurling was very exciting to play because you use a paddle similar to a field hockey stick, but it is shorter and has a wider and flat bottom for smacking the ball. The ball was of approximately baseball size and hardness, and can be hit through the air like a baseball, or on the ground like in field hockey. You can also pick up the ball with your hand and hit with your hand or stick to pass and shoot. Like Gaelic football, you can use your hands and score in a traditional goal and field goal. AND, they wear hardly any protection!! These Irish ladies must be very tough and covered in bruises, because hurling involves lots of physical contact, a helmet, and no other body protection. The goalie included! Practicing was very fun and we gained much respect for these athletes. Nicole, one of our assistant coaches, really killed it at this sport, and unfortunately our field hockey skills did not translate well. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time!
After learning about these wonderful sports, we walked to the Railway Union club to play the sport we are all most comfortable with, field hockey! We played great and won 2-0! It was lots of fun, and we were rewarded afterwards with a delicious barbecue. Another successful day of hockey training and Irish fun in Dublin!
Kelly and Brenna