by Brian G. O’Sullivan
Last Tuesday night Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw set a Champions League record for the most goals scored in a single game. The twelve goals netted in a scoring frenzy set eyebrows rising across the sporting world. It was fast, free flowing end to end fanfare which will go down in the annuals as one of the most bizarre games in the competition due to the manner in which it was played out.
Fast, free flowing end to end action is the norm within Hurling and Gaelic Football. When you visit Ireland a session with Experience Gaelic Games will demonstrate to you the attributes needed to play two of the world’s most demanding games. Not only do you have to be physically able to be at your best you have to be mentally sound too. The demands of quick thinking often change the course of a game. Especially when a ball can travel at 180km per hour in the game of hurling!
There is one thing that you are certain of if you happen to visit Ireland and find yourself at a Gaelic Football or Hurling match. It won’t finish nil-all. You are guaranteed scores; if the teams are of high quality you are guaranteed lots of scores. There will be lots of thrills and crunch defending too. Goals particularly excite the crowd. They are worth three points and often open up tightly fought encounters. Scores over the bar give your side one point. It is the most common score in the Gaelic world; often referred to as a pint!
The 2016 All-Ireland Hurling final produced fifty-three scores over the course of seventy minutes. In total four goals and fifty-three points were registered in a fast free flowing battle between age old rivals Tipperary and Kilkenny. Despite having a fierce rivalry not one player was cautioned during the course of the game.
In former years goalmouth tussles in both Hurling and Gaelic Football were the stuff of legend. Today a small box, known as a parallelogram, offers the goalkeeper protection. You are not allowed to tackle the keeper within its confines nor are you allowed to be inside it before the ball enters. There was a time when the goalkeeper could be charged into the net with or without the ball. It coloured a great spectacle in an era long before the internet or television.
With such gamesmanship, goal scoring was naturally high. Anything up to fourteen or fifteen goals in a match was not unusual. Defences that kept a clean sheet were heralded as superstars. Tipperarys timed honoured defence of the 1950s and 60s were christened Hell’s Kitchen for the exploits in keeping attackers at bay.
Their neighbours, Waterford, felt the full rigors of their prowess. They had one notable revenge. It came after the 1959 League decider when Hell’s Kitchen held the Waterford attack at bay in a comfortable victory. They met again, three weeks later in the Championship, knockout do or die battle fare, when Waterford gained sweat revenge scoring eight first half goals. It became known as the day the kitchen went on fire.
If you want to sample the spirit of Hell’s Kitchen or fancy yourself as an attacking dynamo why not visit Ireland and try your hand at Hurling or Gaelic Football through a session at Experience Gaelic Games! It’s an ideal activity for visiting sports or family groups including Stag and Hen groups coming to Ireland.