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Objective: Two teams of fifteen players use their hands or the stick (hurley), or kick the ball to try and get it through the opponents goalposts at the end of the field. A game lasts 70 minutes, with a maximum interval of 10 minutes at half time. The teams change ends at half time.

Three points are scored for getting the ball between the posts and under the crossbar, one point for getting it between the posts and over the crossbar. See Scoring for more details.

The captains toss a coin for the choice of ends (which goal to aim for). Two players from each team stand in two lines at the centre of the field. The other players stand behind the 65 metre lines. See pitch diagram for details. The referee then throws the ball along the ground between the players.


Ball rules

The ball may be kicked or hit with the hand when it is off the ground. It must not be carried or thrown, except on the hurley. Carrying counts as taking more than three steps while holding the ball. The ball may not be touched on the ground with the hand. A player may catch the ball only twice before hitting it.

The referee throws the ball between opponents to restart play after half time, simultaneous fouls by players on opposing teams, and in certain instances when play has been interrupted.

Pitch diagram

Hurling pitch diagram
A - parallelogram (4.57 metres deep)
B - 13 metre line
C - 20 metre line
D - 65 metre line

Note: The size given above is for the maximum size of pitch. The minimum size is 130 metres by 80 metres (426 feet by 262 feet).


The goalposts are 6.5 metres (21.5 feet) wide, and 4.88 metres (16 feet) high, with the crossbar at the halfway point - 2.44 metres (8 feet).

Scoring and tackling

A goal is scored when the ball passes between the posts and under the crossbar, except when carried or thrown by a member of the attacking side (in this case it would not count). A goal scored like this scores three points.

If the ball goes through the posts and over the crossbar, one point is scored. Again, if carried or thrown by an attacker, it would not count.

Inside the parallelogram
No points are scored if an attacking player (with or without the ball) enters the parallelogram before the ball, unless the ball re-enters the area before the player can leave it, or unless the ball is high enough to be out of reach of players in the parallelogram.

A player may charge an opponent shoulder to shoulder. Other than this counts as a foul. If a player is being fairly charged turns to make the charge come from behind, that does not count as a foul. A goalkeeper cannot be charged in the parallelogram unless they have the ball or are obstructing an opponent. Players who do not have the ball must not be tackled or charged. A player may only strike another player's hurley if both players are striking the ball.

Fouls and misconduct

Players may not:

- push, kick, trip, hold, strike, or jump at an opponent

- obstruct a player with the hand or arm, holding or not

- reach from behind a player who has the ball

- charge a player from behind

- charge or interfere with an opponent who has or is moving to play the ball

- deliberately touch a player with the hurley

- reach for the ball with the hurley over another player

- throw the hurley


The referee may send off any player who is violent or shows unsporting conduct. Players may also be cautioned for less serious offences. An entire team may be disqualified or suspended for rough play.

Free puck
This is awarded for infringements. It is taken where the offence occurred unless the offence was committed by a defender in the 20 metre area (between the 20 metre line and the end line). In this case, it would be taken from the opposite point on the 20 metre line.

It can also be awarded if a player is fouled after delivering the ball. The free puck is taken from the point where the ball lands, unless a goal is scored (the goal counts) or the ball goes out of play (then the free puck is taken from the point where the ball goes out.

When a free puck is taken, the ball must be on the ground, or lifted with the hurley and struck when in the air. The ball may not be transferred from the hurley to the hand. The player taking the free puck must not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player. If the ball hits a non-player directly from the free puck, it is retaken.

If a player stands within 20 metres or illegally charges a free puck, the non-offending team is awarded a free puck from where that player stood or charged.

This is awarded to the defenders when an attacker hits the ball over the end line. It is taken from within the parallelogram. The ball may be held, but must be hit on the first stroke. If missed, it may not be held again, but may be raised or pucked off the ground. The player may hit the ball more than once before another player touches it.

All opponents must be behind the 20 metre line. If a member of the opposing team crosses the line into the 20 metre area, the non-offending team take a free puck opposite where the offender stood.

65 metre free puck
This is awarded to the attacking team when the ball is played over the end line by a defender. It is taken on the 65 metre line, opposite the point where the ball crossed the line. All opponents must be behind the 20 metre line. If a member of the opposing team crosses the line into the 20 metre area, the non-offending team take a free puck opposite where the offender stood.

If anyone other than a player stops the ball from crossing a sideline, a sideline kick is awarded to the team whose player touched the ball last. A goal (three points), point (one point), or 45 metre kick is awarded if the ball is similarly stopped from scoring or crossing an endline.


There will be a referee, who controls the game, two line officials (or linesmen), one at each side of the field, who change ends at half time, and four goal umpires, one outside each goalpost, who do not change ends.


The hurley

The hurley is a curved stick, usually made of wood. It has a broad blade, 10 centimetres (4 inches) across, and weighs between 567 and 680 grams (20 to 24 ounces).

The ball

The ball usually has a cork centre, and is covered with horsehide. It has a circumference of between 23 and 25 centimetres (9 to 10 inches). It weighs between 100 and 130 grams (3.5 to 4.5 ounces).

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