Now Shamrocks take to hurling on the road

BALLYHALE Shamrocks are inviting people to open their minds to a new experience this weekend……hurling on the road.

BALLYHALE Shamrocks are inviting people to open their minds to a new experience this weekend……hurling on the road.

The former All-Ireland club champions have arranged the novel community outing around the roads of the parish on Saturday.

It will involve scores of people belting hurling balls along a 2.4 mile stretch of road between Ballyhale and Knocktopher.

“It is great fun,” insisted All-Ireland winning captain, Michael Fennelly (junior), who will be taking part. “Family, friends, strangers or whoever can play it together. It can be as competitive or as laid back as people want it to be.”

Taken by the game

The Kilkenny midfielder first experienced what they are calling “road hurling” in Cork a few years ago. He was instantly taken by the game and the fun aspect to it, so when the idea was first floated in his own club to play it he was an enthusiastic supporter.

The basic idea is that teams, made up by three members, strike a sliotar over the laid out course along the road from point A to B in as few a strokes as possible. The participants will be armed with a caman and three size 5 hurling balls.

The team members take it in turn driving the ball along the road. A penalty shot can be incurred if a ball is lost, or is driven into a field along the way.

Accuracy is more advantageous than power, apparently. And if a sliotar is hit into a field, participants have a time limit in which to retrieve it before suffering a penalty stroke.

“It is a fun event more than anything else,” explained Shamrocks secretary, Sean O’Sullivan. “There is a competitive element to it, but those who just want to have a go can get involved too.”

Teams can be made up by boys, girls, ladies or men, in any combination. The entry fee is 30 Euro per team, and there will be prizes for the top finishers.

Have a strategy

“It would be helpful to have some sort of strategy before heading off,” advised Michael Fennelly. “It is not all about driving the ball as far as you can. It is something a little bit different, but I know people will have fun if they take up the challenge.”

When he played the “road hurling” in Cork, which was organised by the Na Piarsaigh club, Mr Fennelly’s team recorded around 50 shots. But they didn’t win!

The registration centre will be Ballyhale hall on Saturday (11am). The starting point will be on the Church Road, and the route will follow the back roads to Knocktopher from there.

Sean O’Sullivan (086-8743741) is currently taking entries.