Galway’s All-Ireland success suggests a new vocabulary is required to describe how hurling is played

Writing in 2015 for the Irish Examiner Paddy Heaney argued that a new vocabulary was required to describe the roles performed by Gaelic football players. Similarly it seems that we must learn to interpret the game of hurling and, especially, the positions of players and their associated roles within teams differently. Indeed, the performance of Micheál Donoghue’s Galway team during the 2017 championship has illustrated as much.
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Work rate deficit illustrates how far Tipperary have strayed from their hurling identity

When a death occurs under suspicious circumstances it is standard practice to hold an inquest – such a procedure assists with the grieving process. The same goes for unexpected championship defeats. And, since the surprise reversal suffered at the hands of Cork in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship the air in Tipperary has been thick with sulphur. But rather than search for heads to mount on pikes we decided to take a measured look at the statistical performance of the Tipperary team and thereby assess how far Michael Ryan’s hurlers need to travel in order to re-discover the hard-working identity associated with the team in 2016. Continue reading

More than a feeling: why a Waterford win in the Munster final would represent a victory for ideas

A victory for Waterford in the Munster final would represent a victory for ideas – Derek McGrath has set out to beat the game and the example set is as convention-defying as anything we have ever seen.

Pundits are concerned about the trajectory of the game; they argue that the spectacle needs to improve and that tactics in general pose a risk to hurling’s future – more specifically Waterford’s counter-attacking approach is regarded as pejorative.

The misinterpretation of Waterford’s style, however, begs the question: do followers of the game actually understand what they are looking at?

Australian journalist James Coventry identified a disconnect between how supporters and pundits perceived Aussie Rules and how the game actually worked – in 2015 Coventry published a book which attempted to explain the game to the general public and drag the stakeholders together in a practical way.

Is something similar required to explain hurling?
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