Stars of tomorrow get on the ball early with hurlóg
Published 02/12/2011 | 05:00
IN sport, they say if you are good enough, you are old enough.
But swinging a heavy hurley around as a two-year-old is no easy task -- and leaves parents worried about injuries.
Now a former intercounty player has specifically designed a hurley -- called a 'hurlóg' -- for children aged between two and six.
The venture by former Cork star Eoin Fitzgerald and his wife Ciara has already been endorsed by the GAA.
While the small hurley looks like it is manufactured from ash, it is actually made of foam and is extremely light to hold.
Designed over a 14-month period in Oranmore, Co Galway, it has a solid spine insert and is available in three sizes: for two-, four- and six-year-olds.
"It introduces them to the basics of the game," Mr Fitzgerald said.
"Parents are often worried about young children playing hurling or camogie, but this is specifically designed with that in mind."
The hurlóg recently went on sale across the country, and orders have come from America, Australia and New Zealand.
It has received the full backing of the GAA's director of hurling, Paudie Butler.
"The problem hurling had earned was that mothers were afraid for their young children in case they received an injury. The other problem was if you weren't from a certain place, you couldn't play hurling -- this dispels all those notions," Mr Butler said.
"Hurling is for everyone and the hurlóg is a hurley that children can use as soon as they can walk.
"With this, they can have a hurley in their hand from an early age and the child experiences fun and enjoyment and receives attention from their parents," Mr Butler said.
"The child's view of hurling then is that it is something he or she can do and when they begin school, they will want to play it or join their local GAA club.
"There is such concern these days about children's obesity and lack of exercise, this is ideal for children. Anything that encourages the playing of the game, we are fully behind it."
Wexford All-Ireland winner and long serving hurling coach George O'Connor said it was perfect for children to begin the sport with.
The hurlóg is priced from €20-€22 and is available from www.hurlog.ie.