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Gaelic Athletic Association: hurling

Illustrations of the Dublin Metropolitan Hurling Club

(The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 22 March 1884).

The illustration                                                                                                                              Click here for larger image


In 1883 Michael Cusack founded the Dublin Metropolitan Hurling Club and organized games in the Phoenix Park every weekend during the summer months.

These matches were relatively well supported. Publicity was provided for Cusack’s venture by the appearance of these llustrations in a weekly sporting magazine.

The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, which was published in London from 1874
to 1943, occasionally included pictorial items of Irish interest.

The illustration is made up of ten tableaus which give an artist’s impression of hurling as it was played by Cusack’s Metropolitan Club. It contains representations of a few archaic features of hurling which the GAA did not continue, including the horsewoman who began the game by galloping across the field and ‘tossing the ball in the centre amongst the players.’

The text which accompanied the illustrations also explained how in open play ‘the ball was to be ‘coaxed’ and ‘lifted’ with the hurley – never with the hand – and when off the ground hit with the full strength of the player.’

Document questions
Description & comprehension
Describe what is happening in each scene.
Describe in detail each of the following features: dress, footwear, hurleys and style of play.
Describe what is happening in the main scene. How many players are depicted in the ‘warm corner’? To what feature of the game does the ‘warm corner’ refer?
Interpretation & criticism

Identify features of the game of hurling that have changed over time; consider possible reasons for these changes.
Consider each of the scene captions; what do they mean? Are any of the terms used in the captions still current?
Do you think the clothing and footwear worn by the players were conducive to the playing of hurling?

Wider context
Identify any differences between the game depicted here and the modern game.
Do any of the scenes appear to show infringements of the rules as set out in Document 11?
Are the players attired according to the recommendations given in Document 11?

Taken from

Irish Leaving Certificate History Case Study: The GAA to 1891