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Super Hurling 11s: what is the GAA's newest game and how will it help hurling to crack America?

The GAA will showcase its new version of hurling to a US audience next month.

Jackie Tyrrell, far left, and Lee Chin, far right, with Notre Dame graduates Dan McGeever, Joe Wawrzynsky, Marissa Gaskill and Katie Kenney at yesterday's launch in Croke Park.
Jackie Tyrrell, far left, and Lee Chin, far right, with Notre Dame graduates Dan McGeever, Joe Wawrzynsky, Marissa Gaskill and Katie Kenney at yesterday's launch in Croke Park.
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

What is Super Hurling 11s?

It is the new short-form version of hurling which was devised and trialled over the last six months and officially launched by the GAA and the Gaelic Players’ Association yesterday.

What is different?

For starters the game will be played on a different-sized pitch. That is a deliberate effort to make it more suitable for venues that otherwise wouldn’t be able to host a GAA match.

There is a whole new set of rules as well. For starters there will be no points, only goals, and the goals used will be a different shape to traditional GAA posts. If players score from inside the designated goal-scoring zone, they get three points; scoring from outside the zone is worth five.

On top of that, players won’t be allowed to handpass the ball twice in a row, there will be a time-limit on using possession (think basketball shot clock), and doubling on the ball earns you an extra point.

“What we’re trying to do is highlight the things that we feel are some of the beauties of the game,” GPA chairman Dónal Óg Cusack explained yesterday.

Anything else?

The initial exhibition games will be played using a yellow sliotar which should be easier for both players and spectators to pick out in flight and make for even faster reaction times.

Who designed the game?

Cusack leads the “games team” who designed the rules. Pat Daly, the GAA’s director of games development, Kilmacud Crokes hurling chairman Tom Barry, former Galway coach Mattie Kenny, and Donal O’Grady are also involved.

Where is it being played?

The public will have their first chance to see the new Super 11s format at the International Hurling Festival in Pearse Stadium on 21 September.

But the big exhibition, dubbed the “Celtic Champions Classic”, will take place on 19 October at the University of Notre Dame’s Lacrosse Stadium ahead of their college football game against USC later that evening.

Who is playing in the game in America?

The two teams, which will be made up of inter-county players, and their managers will be announced shortly.

What’s the idea behind it?

The idea is to showcase hurling and its top stars to a new audience and boost the sport’s international profile.

“The GPA have a strategy for the US with the support of the GAA,” Cusack said yesterday.

“That strategy is built around creating a stronger number of supporters in the US, creating greater awareness of our players and our games in the US, and also generating an income stream from the US.

“This game comes underneath this pillar.”

How much is it costing?

The GAA and GPA have not revealed any specifics but President Liam O’Neill said yesterday that it is “not a very costly exercise.”

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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