Photo: Alison O’Donnell
What is hurling, you ask? No, not THAT kind of hurl. Think of it as field hockey – on steroids! A team is composed of 15 players or “hurlers.” The hurley or hurl stick is generally 24 to 36 inches in length. The ball, known as a sliotar, has a cork center and a leather cover. Hurling is the national sport of Ireland and is widely regarded as “the fastest game on grass.” It is also said to be the fastest growing sport throughout the world. Over 50 cities across the US have hurling clubs. The Providence Hurling Club, aka PVD HC, established in 2015, is a proud member of the Boston/Northeast Division of the US Gaelic Athletic Association. They are dedicated to helping spread the word about this fantastic game and growing the sport throughout RI.
On Sunday, August 6, the PVD HC took the championship in the Northeast Region Junior C Hurling final, winning by just three points, which made for a very exciting game. Their fierce opponents, the Worcester Fenians, played a great game with a final score of 2-15 to 2-12 (2 goals, 15 points, total 21 vs 2 goals, 12 points, total 18).
This fun nonprofit has grown in popularity over the years and is always recruiting. “People don’t need to wait until next season,” says teammate Matt Haynes, who sports lucky number seven. “The fall is a great time to start, too. [People] can play in the intra-squad pub league, which is great fun. We might play a challenge match or two against other local teams, but it’s more of a pub league – making teams within the club and playing each other.”
Don’t be surprised if you hear a few Irish accents at the competitions. Teams are American, but many in and around Boston often include Irish immigrant teammates. There are also some players who come over to compete just for the summer. (You don’t have to be Irish to join, though.)
PVD HC is currently recruiting for next season and recently participated in Nationals, held in Denver, August 18-20. If you’re interested in learning more and seeing what hurling’s all about, attend one of their upcoming practice games. You can be a spectator, or try it out. The team is gender-inclusive, and a few women already play on the team.
The PVD HC often marches in the Providence Saint Patrick’s Day parades, and the growing number of participants each year shows how much growth the Providence Hurling Club has experienced. “We have found so many amazing players over the years,” says Mike “Woody” Kennelly, who serves as board president. “If you want to join the greatest hurling club in Rhode Island and represent the club in next year’s parade, fill out a contact form, drop us an email, follow our Facebook page, or just show up to a practice and commit!”
The Providence Hurling Club’s home field, the Pleasant View Recreation Center field, is located at 50 Obadiah Brown Road, Providence. For more info, visit providencehurlingclub.com or check them out on IG or FB @providencehurlingclub for 2023 updates.
On Sunday, August 6, the PVD HC defeated the Worcester Fenians by three points in the Northeast Region Junior C Hurling final.