Inside the Providence Hurling Club

The ancient sport originated in Ireland thousands of years ago.
hurling
PHOTOGRAPH: MIKE BRACA.

Autumn is coming and we all know what that means: pumpkin-flavored everything, comfy sweaters, falling leaves and the start of Providence Hurling Club’s fall season. The ancient sport of hurling originated in Ireland thousands of years ago and has since been introduced to every corner of the globe. It’s a fast-paced sport that can be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with it, but after a little observation time, spectators will catch on to the basics. In Ireland, two teams compete with fifteen players each, but in the United States, the game is played with thirteen team members and the ball is called a sliotar. The wooden stick the players hold is called a hurley, or a hurl. The goal consists of a large net, similar to a soccer goal, with two posts above it. “Teams get three points for scoring in the goal and one point for scoring between the goal posts,” says the club’s chairman, Michael Kennelly. Providence Hurling Club was founded in 2015 and its membership continues to grow each year. “There’s a new person that comes to check it out at every practice,” Kennelly says. “We encourage anyone who comes out to pick up a hurley and give it a try.” The club plays teams from the Northeast Division of the US Gaelic Athletic Association, which stretches from Maine to Connecticut. More information about practices and matches can be found at Providence Hurling Club’s website and Facebook page, and all games are open to the public. providencehurlingclub.com

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