Our First Hurling Match, Ireland's Most Popular Sport
On Super Bowl Sunday, Mathew and I attended our first hurling match! Since we were not able to watch our Minnesota Vikings in the big game we decided it was time to start cheering for another team, Wexford’s Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hurling team!
We had some friends over before the match and served Super Bowl themed appetizers, yum! I made the classics: 7-layer taco dip, buffalo chicken dip, and meatballs. I had fun watching our friends try American appetizers with caution. They said they liked them!
Back to hurling, I extend my apologies, because the next thought sounds so uninformed, but before I moved to Ireland I had no clue that hurling was a sport. Truthfully, I had never given it much thought. Yes, I knew that different countries played different sports. But evolving that thought to the next step of – if every country does not play football, hockey, baseball, and basketball, what do they play? – only formed once I arrived in Ireland.
Hurling is Ireland’s most popular sport, followed by Gaelic football, rugby, and soccer. I am not about to pretend that I have become an Irish sports expert but if I were to describe hurling, I would say it’s a mixture of, lacrosse, rugby, and soccer. Lacrosse, because the game is played with a stick, called a hurl. The hurl carries the ball, a sliotar, up and down the field. Rugby, because the game is physical and very fast-paced. And soccer, because the pitch, while bigger than a soccer pitch, is similar, it is a big field with two large goals on either end.
The players work together to score one of two ways, either by scoring a goal, worth 3 points, or by scoring over the crossbar, worth 1 point. The goal looks like this a soccer goal and is guarded by a goaltender, and the crossbar looks like an American football field goal.
As the points and goals are scored the score is formatted like such, goal total – point total. At the game we attended the final score was, Wexford: 0 – 21, Cork: 1 – 14. Now math comes in, because if you remember goals are worth 3. So, the score was Wexford 21, Cork 17. Meaning Wexford won by 4! And the fans went crazy. Wexford had a great season last year, it actually ended in similar fashion to the Vikings this year. So, the fan base was eager and excited to root for their team this year! And Mathew and I are ready to join the bandwagon, and hey, their colors are purple and gold too, so we fit right in!