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A hurling sliotar Hurling sliotar.jpg
A hurling sliotar

A sliotar or sliothar ( /ˈʃlɪtər/ ; Irish:  [ʃlʲɪt̪ˠəɾˠ] ) is a hard solid sphere slightly larger than a tennis ball, consisting of a cork core covered by two pieces of leather stitched together. Sometimes called a "hurling ball", [1] [2] it resembles a baseball with more pronounced stitching. It is used in the Gaelic games of hurling, camogie, rounders and shinty.



An official Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sliotar, as used in top level hurling competitions such as the National Hurling League or the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championships is subject to strict regulations as regards its size, mass and composition. [3]

The following regulations apply:

Approved sliotars carry a GAA mark of approval. The GAA maintains a list of approved suppliers, based on manufacturers who pass their inspection. [5]


Early (pre-GAA) sliotars used various materials, depending on the part of the country, including combinations of wood, leather, rope and animal hair and even hollow bronze. [6] The etymology is uncertain, with some connecting it to sliabh ("mountain") and thar ("across"), after Cúchulainn's story of hitting a silver ball across a mountain. [7]

In the early years of the GAA, there was no specific standard for the size or weight of sliotars. The man credited with initial standardisation of the sliotar is Ned Treston (1862–1949) of County Galway. He was selected to play in a match between South Galway and North Tipperary in February 1886 in Dublin. Prior the game, there was debate between the teams as regards the size of the sliotar. Treston made a sliotar at a nearby saddler, which was used in the game, and went on to be a prototype for subsequent sliotars. [8]

Johnny McAuliffe (1896–1960) of County Limerick is credited with the modern design. Before his improvements the ball tended to be inconsistent due to poor manufacturing. It was also heavier than modern sliotars (over 200g), and due to being made partly with horse-hair, tended to lose shape during play, and become soggy in wet conditions. The brown colour also meant that the ball was difficult to see in some conditions. McAuliffe's changes introduced a cork core, with a 2 piece white-tanned leather covering as the standard materials. These changes led to a harder wearing ball, which was water resistant and easier to see. The construction materials also meant that the ball was only about half as heavy as Treston's version. [6]

In the early 2000s, the GAA experimented with using sliotars with rubber rather than cork cores; however, it was found that using a rubber core led to a more unpredictable bounce, and moved a lot faster than a ball with a cork core, especially in wet conditions. It was decided to return to a cork ball because of this. [6] While different sized sliotars are used for different ages and codes (with, for example, senior camogie games using a "size 4" sliotar, and senior hurling a "size 5" ball), [9] some claims have historically been made of non-standard balls being used to gain a perceived advantage in competition. [10] [11]

Related Research Articles

Hurling Outdoor team stick and ball game

Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic Irish origin. One of Ireland's native Gaelic games, it shares a number of features with Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, the number of players, and much terminology. There is a similar game for women called camogie. It shares a common Gaelic root with the sport of shinty, which is played predominantly in Scotland.

Camogie Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women

Camogie is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide, largely among Irish communities.

Gaelic games Set of sports originating, and mainly played, on the island of Ireland

Gaelic games are sports played in Ireland under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Gaelic football and hurling are the two main games, while other games organised by the GAA include Gaelic handball and rounders. Women's versions of hurling and football are also played: camogie, organised by the Camogie Association of Ireland, and ladies' Gaelic football, organised by the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association. While women's versions are not organised by the GAA, they are closely associated with it.

Hurley (stick) stick

A hurley or hurl or hurling stick is a wooden stick used in the Irish sports of hurling and camogie. It typically measures between 45 and 96 cm long with a flattened, curved bas at the end. The bas is used to strike a leather sliotar ball.

Páirc Uí Rinn, also known as Páirc Chríostóir Uí Rinn, is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium located between Ballinlough and Ballintemple in Cork. It was previously known as Flower Lodge and was used as an association football stadium. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Flower Lodge served as the home ground of three League of Ireland clubs – Cork Hibernians, Albert Rovers and Cork City. It also hosted friendly matches featuring Manchester United, Liverpool and the Republic of Ireland national football team. In 1989 it was purchased by Cork GAA and subsequently renamed after Christy Ring, a former Cork and Glen Rovers hurler. During the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, Páirc Uí Rinn has served as Cork GAA's second home after Páirc Uí Chaoimh. It regularly hosts National Hurling League, National Football League, National Camogie League and All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship fixtures.

Armagh GAA

The Armagh County Board or Armagh GAA is one of the 32 County Boards of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Ireland, and is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Armagh.

The Cavan County Board or Cavan GAA is one of the 32 County Boards of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Ireland, and is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Cavan.

Offaly GAA County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Offaly

The Offaly County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) or Offaly GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Offaly. Separate county boards are also responsible for the Offaly inter-county teams.

Louth GAA

The Louth County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) or Louth GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Louth. The county board is also responsible for the Louth county teams.

Limerick GAA

The Limerick County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) or Limerick GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Limerick. The county board is also responsible for the Limerick county teams.

Castledermot GAA gaelic games club in County Kildare, Ireland

Castledermot GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland, winner of three senior hurling championships, first winners of the intermediate football and senior camogie championships, Kildare Club of the year in 2004 and home club of All Ireland football finalist of 1935 Pat Byrne, who played for the club 1925-1942. Jimmy Curran was goalkeeper on the Kildare hurling team of the millennium.

Dual player or dual star is a term used in Irish English to describe someone who competes in multiple sports - for example in Victorian Ireland cricket and hurling. The term today in Gaelic games typically describes a male player who plays both Gaelic football and hurling or, if a female player, a player of ladies' Gaelic football and camogie. The player does not necessarily have to play at the same standard in both sports. The number of dual stars at county level has decreased recently due to the increasing demands placed upon the best players of both sports.

O'Neills Irish International Sports Company Ltd. is an Irish sporting goods manufacturer established in 1918. It is the largest manufacturer of sportswear in Ireland, with production plants located in Dublin and Strabane.

Mycro Sportsgear is a manufacturer and retailer of helmets and sliotars (balls) and other equipment used in the game of hurling. It was founded in the mid-1980s, and is based in Ballincollig in Ireland. As of 2010, when new Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) rules made the wearing of helmets compulsory, Mycro Sportsgear was one of three manufacturers with helmets meeting the expected standard. Later, the company made the first helmet to pass the National Standards Authority of Ireland IS 355 safety standard for hurling helmets.

The following is an alphabetical list of terms and jargon used in relation to Gaelic games. See also list of Irish county nicknames

Composite rules shinty–hurling —sometimes known simply as shinty–hurling—is a hybrid sport which was developed to facilitate international matches between shinty players and hurling players.

Castlemagner GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association club based in the village of Castlemagner in the North West of County Cork, Ireland. The club plays in the Duhallow division in both Gaelic Football and hurling competitions. At under age level, the Castlemagner club amalgamates with Kilbrin as Croke Rovers - as neither club have been able to field an underage team on their own. Ladies' Gaelic football and camogie are also played within the club.

Cloughduv GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association based in the village of Cloughduv in County Cork, Ireland. The club is a member of the Muskerry division of Cork GAA. The club fields hurling team only. There are two Gaelic football clubs in the parish - Canovee and Kilmurry - and there is often an overlap of players between the different clubs.

Ball (Gaelic football)

A football or Gaelic football is the spherical leather football used in the sports of Gaelic football and ladies' Gaelic football and international rules football.

Scoring in Gaelic games

This page discusses scoring in the Gaelic games of hurling, Gaelic football, camogie, ladies' Gaelic football, international rules football and shinty-hurling.


  1. "Hurling Balls". O'Neills . Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  2. "New English-Irish Dictionary - hurling ball". Foras na Gaeilge . Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. "Gaelic Athletic Association Official Guide - Part 2" (PDF). Gaelic Athletic Association. 2009-06-03. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  4. Gaelic Athletic Association - Official Guide - Part 2 (PDF). (Report). Gaelic Athletic Association. May 2017. p. 16. Retrieved 2 September 2019. The diameter of the Sliotar - not including the rim (rib) - shall be between 69mm. and 72mm. The mass of the Sliotar shall be between 110 and 120 grams
  5. "GAA Approved Suppliers". Gaelic Athletic Association. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  6. 1 2 3 Gormley, Eamon (2006-07-03). "The Science of Sliothars". An Fear Rua. Archived from the original on 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  7. Chetwynd, Josh (May 3, 2011). The Secret History of Balls: The Stories Behind the Things We Love to Catch, Whack, Throw, Kick, Bounce and B at. Penguin. ISBN   9781101514870 via Google Books.
  8. "Hurling in Gort" (PDF). Gort GAA. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  9. Camogie-Hurling Rule Differences 2018-2021 (PDF). (Report). Camogie Association. September 2018. p. 2. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  10. "New regulations aim to put end to 'codology' over sliotars". Irish Examiner. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  11. "John Allen: Sliotar dimensions much ado about nothing". Irish Times. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2019.