Everything you need to know about Super 11's Hurling

A beginner's guide ahead of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic on November 19 in Fenway Park

Author: Media GPA/07 November 2017/Categories: Year 2015, Year 2016

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Beginner's Guide to the Oldest and Fastest Team Sport in the World


Played for thousands of years, hurling is Ireland’s legendary national game. Here are some basic facts about Super 11s Hurling, a modern free-flowing incarnation of the world’s fastest and oldest team sport.

Teams, Format & Time

Each team in the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic 2017 will have 11 players.  Unlimited substitutions are allowed from the substitution zones at the side of the field.  There will be two semi-finals with the winners meeting in the final for the Players Champions Cup.  In the event of a tie there will be a penalty shootout where each team will alternate five penalty pucks. If one team is not ahead on goals after these five penalty pucks, each team shall take a further one penalty each, repeated until only one team scores.

All games will consist of two 20 minute halves and will be officiated a referee assisted by a Line Official, Clock Official and Television Match Official.  For dimensions and layout see Field Illustration.


A hurley:  A 33 to 36 inch stick made from ash wood, with a flattened, curved end, the bas (pronounced boss)

A sliothar (pronounced slittur): A leather ball roughly the size of a baseball.

A helmet is compulsory.


A goal is scored when the ball passes over the goal line into the goal cage; three points are scored when struck from inside the defensive zone (20 yards from each goal) and five for a goal struck from outside.  

Rules and Terminology

The Strike – The player uses the hurley to strike the ball on the ground, in the air, tossed from the hand or lifted with the hurley.

The Run (“Solo”) - A player may run with the ball balanced or hopping on the hurley, eluding opposing players. 

The Catch - A player may catch the ball and carry it in the hand for a maximum of 4 consecutive steps before striking it, ‘soloing’ it or hand passing it. He can bring it back to hand once. A player who has not caught the ball may play it from the hurley into the hand twice. 

The Tackle –Courage is the byword.  The most popular forms of tackling are:

the "block", where one player smothers an opponent's strike by trapping the ball between his hurley and the opponent's up-swinging hurley;  

the "hook", where a player approaches another player from the rear and impedes the arc of the opponent's swinging hurley with his own; and

the "side pull", where two players running together for the sliothar collide at the shoulders and swing ("pull") their hurleys together, often with extreme force. This heralds the mighty “Clash of the Ash”.

The Side Charge - Provided at least one foot remains on the ground, a player may make a lateral shoulder-to-shoulder charge on an opponent to gain ball possession.

The Hand Pass - The ball may be struck with the palm, not thrown, by players on the same team once in sequence.  The ball may not be handled on the ground, except when a player is knocked or falls and the ball in his hand touches ground.  The ball may be passed with the hand no more than once consecutively by players on the same team.  

Deliberate kicking of the ball is not allowed.

The Faceoff - A faceoff (See Side Pull) at the centre point starts each period of play.

A Free - A foul committed outside the defensive zone results in possession awarded to the opposing team. If a player from the fouling team is in possession, he must immediately release the ball. Players on that team must retreat five yards and cannot impede the free-taker.  Sanction for infringement is temporary suspension (see sin bin) and penalty puck to the opposition team. 

A Penalty – Awarded for a foul committed inside the defensive zone or, for impeding a free. Struck from 20 yards, the taker may lift the ball from the ground and strike it without handling it. Only the goalkeeper may defend the penalty. 

Restarts – 

(a) When the ball is put across the defending team’s end or goal line the game is restarted by the defending goalkeeper taking a free puck out. The ball cannot be played by a member of his own team until it reaches the opposing team’s half or is first played by an opponent.  

(b) When the ball is put across a team’s own end line the opposing team takes a free puck from a point eight yards on the side of the goal on which the ball went out of play.  These are known as short corners or “65’s”.  Only one defending player may stand on the goal-line and a maximum of four other defending players (two on each side of the goal) may stand on the end line no closer to the goal than three and a half yards. Three attacking players may stand on the 20 yard line.  All other players shall be in the other half of the field.  

Following the taking of the free puck the attacking team is allowed one touch of the ball with the hurley outside the 20 yard line and up to one further touch of the ball with the hurley to attempt to score a goal. The next touch has to be by the defending team. 

(c) When the ball crosses the sideline the opposing team takes a free puck from the ball’s point of exit. 

Shot Clock - Once possession is gained, a team has 30 seconds for to attempt a goal. This is, reduced to 20 seconds for the last two minutes of each period.

Sin Bin & Dismissal – Depending on the severity of a foul a player can be sin-binned for two minutes or dismissed from the game with no substitute in either event.

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