Friday 13 December 2019

New Zealand journalist transfixed with hurling - 'The most powerful release of sporting energy I have ever seen'

Action from the drawn All-Ireland hurling final
Action from the drawn All-Ireland hurling final

Given this journalist is from the country which brings you the sporting ferocity of the All Blacks, his impression of hurling is all the more remarkable.

Chris Van Ryn was one of 12 journalists from abroad invited by Failte Ireland to sample some of the greatest experiences and events the country has to offer.

He was given the opportunity of attending the All-Ireland final between Kilkenny and Tipperary on September 7 and his vivid description of what played out in front of his eyes tells you what kind of impression the game made.

"A single player ascends towards a white ball which arcs high from the other side of the field, cutting through the air with razor blade sharpness. 82,600 heads rise in unison … and fall, following the trajectory of the sliotar as it hurtles towards the player. Seconds later he is intercepted by a furious swarm. There is an almighty thunder from the crowd as hurleys and players collide.

"This, then, is the legendary “clash of the ash” – a demonstration of the most powerful release of sporting energy I have ever seen."

The reaction of British twitter users has been amusing us (click here) but this account is amazing.

"The players seem to me like artists. They deliver skill, blinding speed and physical prowess in a sport which calls for each player to draw upon his own unique pool of energy. And they deliver a visceral demonstration, epitomizing the peak of human physical – and spiritual – achievement that is awe inspiring. This is all the more incredible in a sport played by amateurs. Yet, perhaps their exceptional capacity is precisely because they are amateurs. An amateur requires a personal commitment that money cannot buy."

You can read the remainder of Chris' piece here.

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