Hurling - Sydney Irish Festival

SO, WHAT IS

HURLING

Well, the Irish kids will tell you it’s the fastest sport in the world…as well as the best. While CNN ranks it at number 2 on the list of sports you must see live before you die – second only to the Olympics.

For the uninitiated, imagine footballers armed with hockey sticks and a willingness to swing for the bleachers in an attempt to net the sliotar. Oh right, the sliotar is the ball and it pings around the field at 160 kilometres an hour… that’s Mitch Starc in full flight on a dry WACA wicket. Oh, and these guys don’t wear pads.

Dating back to the 7th Century, when the global population was a miserly 200 million, most of whom probably supported the game, hurling has grown into Ireland’s national game with Barack Obama calling himself a fan and over 1.3 million viewers tuning into the 2017 league decider.

Now it’s Australia’s turn to experience the spectacle for the first time when Spotless Stadium, the dimensions of which will exceed that of an AFL match, will be transformed into a cauldron of unbridled intensity (or déine for those in the know).

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so don’t miss your chance to witness a sporting event that is truly like no other.

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HURLING

THE WILD GEESE TROPHY

Spotless stadium will be rocking when the jewel in the festival’s crown sees the Galway Tribesman, winners of the 2017 GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship and home to no less than 7 All Stars, take on the reigning 2018 Allianz League Champions, Kilkenny in a no love lost, fully sanctioned hurling game. This is more than an exhibition, it’s a grudge match, with the winner earning direct entry into the 2020 incarnation of the tournament and being awarded the coveted Wild Geese Trophy.

The trophy is set to mark the cultural respect that exists between the Australian and Irish people, along with the frolicsome nature of the two nations, and has been named in honour of 6 Fenian brothers who successfully escaped W.A. and the drudgery of a British ruled penal colony in 1876; an act of defiance that would later become known as the Catalpa Rescue…or simply ‘sticking it to the man.