The rules of hurling are the following.
Length of the match
Senior inter-county matches last 70 minutes (35 minutes per half). Club games are ten minutes shorter lasting 60 minutes (30 minutes per half)
The positions in Hurling are the same as in Gaelic Football.
The ball consists of a cork core covered by two pieces of leather stitched together. Called a sliotar, it is a subject to strict regulations as regards its size, mass and composition and is usually white in colour.
Scoring is achieved by sending the Sliotar (ball) between the opposition’s goal posts. The Hurley is used to strike the Sliotar between the posts and over the bar. If It goes over the bar the umpire will raise a white flag signalling a point. If the sliotar goes in the goal it is worth three points and the raises a green flag. The way the the score displayed is the following for example if Dublin scored 1-5 they would have scored a goal and five points and would have a total of 8 points.
Players may be tackled but not struck by a one handed slash of the stick; exceptions are two handed jabs and strikes. Jersey-pulling, wrestling, pushing and tripping are all forbidden. There are several forms of acceptable tackling, the most popular being:
- The “block”, where one player attempts to smother an opposing player’s strike by trapping the ball between his hurley and the opponent’s swinging hurl;
- The “hook”, where a player approaches another player from a rear angle and attempts to catch the opponent’s hurley with his own at the top of the swing; and
- The “side pull”, where two players running together for the sliotar will collide at the shoulders and swing together to win the tackle and “pull” (name given to swing the hurley) with extreme force.
The following are considered technical fouls
- Picking the ball directly off the ground (instead it must be flicked up with the hurley)
- Throwing the ball (instead it must be “hand-passed”: slapped with the open hand)
- Going more than four steps with the ball in the hand (it may be carried indefinitely on the hurley though)
- Catching the ball three times in a row without it touching the ground (touching the hurley does not count)
- Putting the ball from one hand to the other
- Hand-passing a goal
- Throwing the hurley
- The match begins with the referee throwing the sliotar in between the four midfielders on the halfway line.
- After an attacker has scored or put the ball wide of the goals, the goalkeeper may take a “puckout” from the hand at the edge of the small square. All players must be beyond the 20 m line.
- After a defender has put the ball wide of the goals, an attacker may take a “65” from the 65 m line level with where the ball went wide. It must be taken by lifting and striking. However, the ball must not be taken into the hand but struck whilst the ball is lifted.
- After a player has put the ball over the sideline, the other team may take a ‘sideline cut’ at the point where the ball left the pitch. It must be taken from the ground.
- After a player has committed a foul, the other team may take a ‘free’ at the point where the foul was committed. It must be taken by lifting and striking in the same style as the “65”.
- After a defender has committed a foul inside the Square (large rectangle), the other team may take a “penalty” from the ground from behind the 20 m line. Only the goalkeeper may guard the goals. It must be taken by lifting and striking and the sliotar must be stuck on or behind the 20m line (The penalty rule was amended in 2015 due to safety concerns. Before this the ball merely had to start at the 20m line but could be struck beyond it. To balance this advantage the two additional defenders previously allowed on the line have been removed).
- If many players are struggling for the ball and no side is able to capitalize or gain control of the sliotar the referee may choose to throw the ball in between two opposing players.
A hurling match is watched over by eight officials:
- The referee
- Two linesmen
- Sideline official/standby linesman (inter-county games only)
- Four umpires (two at each end)