BELFAST – Following-up on an idea hatched while recruiting lacrosse players at Queens University’s
Freshers Week in September, Irish Women’s National Team player Siobhan Carroll and other athletes
recently played a game matching lacrosse players against hurlers for the first time ever.
HURLACROSSE, by Siobhan Carroll
A battle of epic proportions between arguably two of the greatest sports took place on
Wednesday night, Dec. 3, on a dimly lit playing field at Queens University in Belfast (QUB).
After putting forward a constitution and business plan to earn official club status on Nov. 23,
the newly formed QUB Lacrosse Club’s first step was to challenge the Queens Gaelic Athletic
Association Hurling Club to a hurling vs. lacrosse match. Less than two weeks later the match
was played and an amazing thing happened, a new game was born.
Ten players competed for each side including four women on the lacrosse team. Some players
wore helmets recently donated by the Irish Lacrosse Foundation, and the sliothar (hurling ball) was
chosen because of concern that the hard rubber lacrosse ball could break hurling’s wood sticks.
With just a vague set of rules and a few pointers the players faced off and were on top of the
action as soon as the whistle blew. Play seemed uncomfortable at first, but quick passing and skilful
dodging by both sides warmed both teams up. Play was often forced to the ground which the hurlers
used to their advantage to take some big swings and get the sliothar in the back of the net.
Then the fun really began.
The first to take some real hits was laxer Jonny Burke. Then the ball went high and the challenges
became rougher. The aluminum shafts did well against the strong wooden hurls, and the banter was
mighty throughout. Jonny scored the first two for the laxers but the hurlers matched every goal.
Tied 4-4, a lacrosse shot was blocked by a handball and a penalty was given. I stepped up to
take the penalty for the craic. The first was taken as in lacrosse, the shot was off before the crease.
The hurlers didn’t know what to expect and requested a re-take. For the second shot I was only
allowed two steps, but with both shots in the back of the net, the hurlers conceded a goal and trailed
Then, as if to signify the monumental occasion, a late equaliser by the hurlers in the game’s last
minute made it seem that fate would finish the game with a draw.
Though the rain had started again and the light was poor, everyone was thirsty for more, so it was
decided to play on until the next “golden” goal won the game. Hurling finished the game with a win, and
the event was one for the record books, and will be remembered as such by all who played in it.
I am amazed at how well it worked, playing with hurleys and lacrosse sticks. The hurlers absolutely
loved lacrosse and they are mad keen to play again. S.C.