| 19.6°C Dublin

Close

Premium

'I'd say some of the younger generation are looking back at some of this archive stuff and saying it was cat'

Cold eye of analysis shows that gains outweigh the losses in evolution, but at a cost

Close

'Sometimes when you look back you would cringe but at the same time there is a huge argument to be made that it was a better game that time because it was man-to-man, there was more ground hurling'. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

'Sometimes when you look back you would cringe but at the same time there is a huge argument to be made that it was a better game that time because it was man-to-man, there was more ground hurling'. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

'Sometimes when you look back you would cringe but at the same time there is a huge argument to be made that it was a better game that time because it was man-to-man, there was more ground hurling'. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

In recent weeks a text from a friend, much younger, early 20s, drew attention to the 1995 All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Galway and Clare being shown on television at the time. This match took place before he was born. The text came with a sniffy judgement on the quality of the hurling, like he had stumbled across some ancient civilisation, a primitive species foraging with basic implements.

The current pandemic has given new life to those dormant matches from the past, rediscovered like scratchings on the walls of the cave, unearthed to some for the first time and to others after enough time to maybe surprise even their own assumptions. Was it that slow? Was the striking that poor? My, look at all that ground hurling!

Close

Eamonn Cregan

Eamonn Cregan

SPORTSFILE

Eamonn Cregan

For the purposes of amusement as much as scientific discovery, we set ourselves the task of examining games at decade long intervals beginning in 1980 with that year's All-Ireland final between Galway and Limerick. Forty years is a long stretch in any game's history and evolution. Hurling has indeed changed a great deal, mostly for the better.