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RTE – The Game: The Story of Hurling (2018)

RTE The Game The Story of Hurling

Celebrates Ireland’s blistering national sport.

Chapter 1: Birth of Hurling
From the mists of time and borne out of myths and legends, Episode 1 of THE GAME brings us the birth of hurling and of the hurler. What does hurling mean to those who play it, those who watch it, those who live and breathe it. And not just for players and fans, what does hurling mean to the Irish nation as a whole – to our history and our sense of identity. Charting the beginnings of the GAA alongside the turbulent times of the Land War and mass emigration, this first episode lays the groundwork on which a treasured national sport was founded. Whether it’s the ultimate dream of representing your county in Croke Park or the tribal pride of playing for club and parish, it’s clear that with picking up a sliotar and hurl comes a true sense of belonging and of being a part of something bigger than you.

Chapter 2: Agents of Change
We meet some of the past superstars of the game. Those who were agents of change leaving an indelible mark on the sport in their wake; Mick Mackey of Limerick, Nicky Rackard of Wexford and the legend that was Christy Ring. These were the men that fans travelled cross country to see – by any means necessary. Charting Cork’s four in a row victory through to Wexford’s toppling of the blue bloods in the 1950’s and onto the indomitable Tipperary backline – Hell’s Kitchen – in the 1960’s, The Game explores eras of great change and not just for hurling but for the country as a whole. Newspapers gave way to radio and in the 1960s television broadcasting began. Hurling had a new medium and new audience. But the two pillars of an Irish Sunday – the mass and the match – were no longer the only distractions and Ireland of the late 1960’s was now looking forward.

Chapter 3: The Quest for Perfection
Explores the chase for perfection. We see teams learning to win as Galway’s breakthrough in the 1980’s gave way to Ger Loughnane’s winning Clare side in the 1990’s and Kilkenny’s fine tuning of the pressure game in the 2000’s – a team that seemed impossible to beat. Tactics and fitness took on entirely new dimensions and the rise of sports science elevated the standards expected of hurlers even further. Episode 3 also looks at the women’s game and the battles camogie has had to fight to be recognised in its own right. And as hurling has made its way through the Celtic Tiger era and the dawn of social media, what has that meant for the sport and the men and women who play it. For all the modern advancements in science and training perhaps what lies at the heart of the game hasn’t changed at all – it’s still the magic of pure skill and the aura surrounding the heroes of this stick and ball game that is uniquely ours.

Chapter 4: Final
Excerpts from various finals including the 2018 All Ireland Final Limerick v Galway.

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