Hurling

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Hurling is the fastest field sport in the world. It is similar to hockey and lacrosse and related to Shinty. It is an Irish sport that is predominantly played in Ireland or by emigrant Irish. It has been played in Ireland for about 2000 years and is mentioned in the Irish legend of Cú Chulainn. Its administrative body is the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) or the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael (CLG) in Irish. None of its players get paid for playing the sport.

It is played on a rectangular pitch approximately 137m long by 82m wide. At either end there are goalposts which are the same shape as rugby goalposts (H-shaped). Matches are 30 minutes a half (except at inter-county level where each half is 35 minutes). They are played by two teams of fifteen players with five substitutions allowed per side per game. Each team wears a different coloured jersey.

Hurling is played with a small, hard ball (sliotar) and a curved stick (hurley). Players may pick up the sliotar with the hurley and carry it for four steps. They must then either bounce or balance the sliotar with the hurley. Whilst in possession of the ball you may only catch the sliotar twice.

Scoring is by either hitting the sliotar over the horizontal bar for a point, or under the horizontal bar for a goal. One goal is worth three points. Both the number of goals and points are recorded in the scoring with the number of goals shown first and then the number of points. For example one of the All-Ireland Semi Finals in 2007 finished Limerick 5-11 Waterford 2-15 which means that Limerick won by four points.

The premier competition in Hurling is the Hurling Championship. It starts in May and culminates in The All-Ireland Final in Croke Park on the First Sunday of September. 12 counties compete for the Liam McCarthy Cup, with the other counties plus London and Warwickshire competing for the Christy Ring and Nickey Rackard Cups. Prior to the Championship there is a League competition, the NHL. This is held between March and May. Every County also has its own Club Championships and clubs in the county compete in different grades of competitions. The winners of each County Championship then represents their county in an All-Ireland Club Competition that reaches its finale on St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) in Croke Park.

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