Basic Rules of Hurling

Field Layout

  • Hurling is played on a rectangular field, somewhat larger than a soccer field.

  • At each end of the field is a goal similar to a soccer net, with upright posts extending above the top bar on both the left and right posts.

  • Traditionally, hurling is played with 15 players a side. In North America, we play with 13 on a side.


  • Sliotar (hurling ball) struck or kicked into the goal is awarded 3 points.

  • Sliotar struck or kicked over the crossbar and between the uprights is awarded 1 point.

  • In hurling, players may not score with a hand pass.

  • Offensive players may not enter the small box in front of the goal before the ball enters. If a player does so, it is called a "square ball" and any score is disallowed and the defense is awarded possession.​

Possessing and Advancing the Sliotar

  • Sliotar may be caught in the air, struck with the hurley (hurling stick), kicked while it is on the ground, or hand passed (released and struck with an open hand). The sliotar may not be thrown.

  • Sliotar may be lifted with the hurley and taken into the hand, but players may not touch the sliotar with the hand while it is on the ground.

  • Sliotar may be tossed/dropped from the hand and struck with the hurley.

  • A player may hold the sliotar in hand for 4 steps or the amount of time required to take 4 steps.

  • After 4 steps, the player may play the sliotar off the hurley and gain another 4 steps. The ball may only be taken into the hand 2 times before it must be played away.

  • A player may run for an unlimited amount of time while balancing or bouncing the sliotar on the hurley (called "soloing").


  • A player may use the hurley to block an opponent's shot or pass.

  • When an opponent is striking the ball with the hurley, a defender may tap (or "hook") the player's backswing from beneath. A defender may not "chop," or strike down on an opponent's hurley from above.

  • In hurling, a defender may charge a player shoulder-to- shoulder if the opponent is in possession of the sliotar, or is attempting to gain possession while in close proximity to the sliotar.

  • Tripping, holding, and deliberately striking an opponent with the hurley are prohibited.

Frees and Boundaries

  • When a foul is committed, a player from the opposing team is given an opportunity for a “free puck” or “free.” The player lifts the sliotar off the ground with the hurley and strikes it in one motion, without catching it.

  • When a player knocks the ball out the sideline, the opposing team is awarded a "sideline cut."  A player must strike the ball directly off the ground at the point it went out of bounds.

  • After a score, or if an offensive shot goes over the end line wide of the goal, the defending team is given a "puck out."  The goalie is allowed to take the ball in hand and strike it with the hurley.

  • If the defending team knocks the ball out their own end line, a "65" is awarded to the other team. A player is given a "free" (as described above) from the 65 meter line.


There are many unique skills in the game of hurling, but new players will find they may be able to draw on skills they may have learned playing tennis, baseball, field hockey, or other sports. Club training sessions throughout the season are focused on developing skills.


The Gaelic Athletic Association  (GAA) provides a comprehensive list of skills and coaching videos here, but new players will want to concentrate on the following skills:

Basic Rules of Camogie

Camogie is a version of hurling typically played by women. With the few exceptions listed here, the rules and skills of camogie are identical to those of hurling.

  • Camogie players may score by hand passing the sliotar into the net or through the uprights.

  • In camogie, it is permissible to intentionally drop the hurley in order to complete a hand pass.

  • Shoulder-to-shoulder charges are not allowed.

  • When a defending team knocks the ball over their own end line, the other team is awarded a "free" from the 45-meter line rather than the 65-meter line as in hurling.