Hurling vs. Lacrosse

The comparison between the sports of Hurling and Lacrosse.

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Mal achy O’Connell soloed the ball, balancing it there on his Hurley as he sprinted ten feet down the left wing of the field, then to double the slither in the air and score three points for his team.  Come on now yobs, everyone cheered as Mal achy took his victory run back to midfield to join witTh his team!  Hurling the game was and that’s what Mal achy had played all of his life growing up in Ireland, hearing stories of the great Cuchulain and other Irish Heroes who had played the same as he does.  Now in America, Malachy tries to keep up his spirits in playing the similar sport of Lacrosse after discovering no local Hurling Clubs.  Switching from Hurling to Lacrosse will not be easy, but after playing Hurling, the “Fastest game on grass,” (MHC) he should be able to pick up Lacrosse, “The fastest game on two feet,” (Smith).  Malachy will indeed notice the differences in equipment, game play and especially history when playing this new foreign game and will soon miss the cultural sport he grew to love. 

 Being a very easy-to-see difference between the two sports, Hurling and Lacrosse require special equipment in order to be played.  This difference in equipment affects the game play and rules of each sport becoming an essential part of the sport as a whole.  The way equipment allows players to perform in their sport more effectively than otherwise is commonly overlooked by fans.  Different equipment is one huge factor that sets many sports apart and that is why Hurling and Lacrosse still have very important differences between them.

Hurling equipment is pretty basic for the most part and getting fitted for the right equipment is even easier.  When playing the great game of hurling you need four basic things to play which are a Hurling Stick or Hurley as we like to call it, a Protective Helmet, a Sliothar and a simple pair of Cleats.  First off and most importantly you should be fitted to a correctly-sized Hurley which will be your best friend and affect every aspect of the game in which you play.  Hurleys are hard wooden sticks that have a curved toe and a grip on them.  You need to have the right size stick in order to perform efficiently, because a stick that is too big or too small will affect your hitting, ground hurling and even your solo runs during a game.  Hurling helmets or whatever hockey helmet a hurler chooses to wear consists of a hard plastic shell with ear holes and a metal cage in front for visibility and protection.  The Sliothar is the ball that is used in hurling which is much like a baseball, but has ridged edges instead of just stitched lines. Lastly your shoes for hurling should be some type of cleats which grip the ground firmly and allow you power down the field quickly.  All of this equipment is essential to a Hurling player allowing him to be successful at what he or she does. 

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  1. Posted June 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    hmmmnn I actually think lacrosse is a lot faster paced type of gameplay…i would play hurling too though

  2. Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Have you ever played the game of hurling? It’s faster than lacrosse, believe me. More skillful, too.

  3. Luke (from Ireland)
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Hurling requires lots of skill as well as aggression. You just can;t go onto the field and lose your head

  4. Dexter
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I’m from Ireland and play lacrosse in Ireland so I’ve a pretty good perspective. This is an interesting comparison but, obviously, very biased. Some of the stuff said here just isn’t fair to the game of lacrosse and to suggest hurling has much more of a history is just misleading. Hurling may have started earlier but was also derelict and not played widely for huge periods of time throughout the years. Even now it is a minority sport in Ireland. More people play Soccer, Rugby and Gaelic football than hurling and, whilst is a massive part of our cultural heritage, it is a game that is in decline. The best way to sum this argument up is that the game you play first is the game that you will defend as being somehow ‘better’. Neither is better, or faster, or anything. They’re just different.

  5. Patrick McDermott
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I’ve read several commentaries on the differences between lacrosse and Hurling. At first flush it appears that commenter’s have little sense of history and its affects over time on everything from tradition to rocks.
    Discussions of “equipment” and rules is sort of a red herring when discussing possible origins, as rules and equipment evolve over time. The stark similarities of the basic game however, cannot be ignored.
    Since Hurling can be traced further back than lacrosse, one could suggest that some sort of cultural interchange occurred along the way, which brought Hurling to the Native American. This line of thinking would suggest a pre-Columbian connection between Ireland and the Americas. And there is ample Irish tradition to lend credence to such an idea — the voyage of St. Brendan. It is a connection worth considering.

  6. Aaron
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I\’d like to try playing both games, they both sound like fun. From what I\’ve learned so far, I can\’t conclude that either game is superior to the other.

    I am fascinated by the possibility that, given the basic similarities of the two games, they may have originated from the same source, or as Patrick McDermott [Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:18am] suggests, that Irish seafarers \”brought Hurling to the Native American”.

    I am wondering if anyone knows of any research into this idea?

  7. Aaron
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    P.S. I’m stuffed if I know how those backslashes got into my post…

  8. Aaron
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    From ‘Hurling’ page, Wikipedia:

    “In the book by Seamus King “A History of Hurling” there is a reference from Irish verbal history of hurling as far back as the 1200 B.C”


    “The earliest written references to the sport in Brehon law date from the fifth century.”

    From ‘History of hurling’ page, Wikipedia:

    ‘The Seanchás Mór commentaries on the Brehon Law state that the son of a rí (local king) could have his hurley hooped in bronze, while others could only use copper. It was illegal to confiscate a hurley.”

    From ‘Lacrosse’ page, Wikipedia:

    “Lacrosse, a relatively popular team sport in the Americas, may have developed as early as 2010 AD”

    I am assuming they meant 2010 B.C. For this claim they cite “Vennum, Thomas. American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War. (Smithsonian Institution, 2002) SBN 978-1560983026″

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