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25 May 2022

Play ball - former Kilkenny GAA chairman launches Smart Sliotar

Kilkenny Sport

Chairman of the Sliotar Workgroup Ned Quinn at the launch of the Smart Sliotar at Croke Park PICTURE: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The GAA has launched a Smart Sliotar which will be used in the upcoming under-20 hurling championships.

The Smart Sliotar is the result of a detailed review and analysis carried out by a special Work Group established by Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy in 2021 and chaired by Ned Quinn, former chairman of the Kilkenny Co Board.

The Smart Sliotar project aims to ensure that approved Sliotar suppliers adhere to the Sliotar specification set out in the GAA Official Guide and that approved Sliotars perform on a consistent basis.

In an effective regulatory context, it seeks to address illegal use of the official GAA logo and meets ethical production and supply chain practices as determined by the World Federation of the Sports Goods Industry (WFSGI). A tag or chip is embedded in the core of the Smart Sliotar which can be read by an app on a mobile phone and can be verified as being an official match ball.

"I want to acknowledge and thank the Work Group for their detailed and evidenced based work which we believe will lead to improvements in sliotar production and performance," said Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy. "I look forward to seeing how the Smart Sliotar performs in next month’s under-20 championships."

The Work Group met on a total of 22 occasions since last July, as well as conducting two field test sessions. These involved a cross-section of senior intercounty players and was augmented by a series of laboratory tests, which testified to the durability of the chip/tag.

The Smart Sliotar will be used in the under-20 hurling championships which begins in Leinster on April 2 - Kilkenny will start their campaign at home to Offaly on April 19 - and in Munster on April 6 with a further review planned after the under-20 All-Ireland hurling final.

Specifications

Specifications for the sliotar were passed at GAA Congress last month.

The diameter of the sliotar - not including the rim (rib) - shall be between 69mm and 72mm.  

The mass of the sliotar shall be between 110 and 116 grams.

The rim (rib) height shall be between 1.8mm and 2.6mm. 

The rim (rib) width shall be between 3.6 mm and 5.4mm. 

The thickness of the leather (chrome or synthetic) cover shall be between 1.8mm. and 2.7mm. and shall not be laminated with
a coating greater than 0.15mm.  

Sliotars will only be approved for use based on compliance with standards and tests as set out by Central Council.

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