BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 9°C Friday 26 February 2021
Advertisement

New balls please? GAA to experiment with yellow sliotar in hurling

“It was always in my head that the ball was the wrong colour,” former Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack said yesterday.

White sliotars: not long for this world?
White sliotars: not long for this world?
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

THE GAA IS to break with tradition and trial a yellow sliotar which it hopes will improve hurling for players and spectators.

The new sliotar will be introduced at the Super Hurling 11s exhibition in Galway later this month but could be expanded if it proves to be a hit.

The experiment mirrors changes made by tennis in the 1970s when traditional white or black balls were replaced by yellow balls which are easier for spectators to follow at high speed.

GPA President Donal Óg Cusack backed the scheme and revealed that during his playing days, he wore specially-made contact lenses which helped him to pick out the flight of the sliotar.

“It was always in my head that the ball was the wrong colour,” the former Cork goalkeeper said yesterday.

“In stadiums, maybe I’m making an excuse now, but sometimes I’d lose the flight of the ball.

image

GAA President Liam O’Neill juggles the new yellow sliotar at the launch of the Celtic Champions Classic in Croke Park yesterday (INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

“I used to wear contact lenses a number of years ago that would change the colour of the ball and make it stand out more inside in the stadium. It was logical in my head that this was a harder ball to see.”

“For viewers if you’re watching the game and you can’t track the ball — I know the HD [TV] is brilliant for hurling — but if you can’t see the ball, it makes the experience less enjoyable.”

As things stand, players standing across the diagonal of an average football pitch require two lines better than 20/20 vision to make out the traditional white sliotar, Valerie Kennelly from Trim Optical Centre explained.

“A lot of research has been put into how well we can react to a ball, but in order to be able to react to a ball we need to be able to see it,” Kennelly said.

“The yellow ball stimulates the visual receptors at the back of the eye so much better than a white ball.

“Reaction times get better and hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy more frantic visual performances.”

Joe McQuillan appointed as All-Ireland senior football final referee

Munster Council yet to receive request from Clare for help on club fixtures

About the author:

Niall Kelly

Read next:

COMMENTS (13)