Hibernians Win National Hurling Championship
The Allentown Hibernian Hurling Club, led by T.J. Hirsch ’07, took the U.S. National Championship title in hurling over Labor Day weekend, outplaying 16 other qualifying teams from across the country.
Hurling is an ancient Gaelic and Irish game, originating in Ireland more than 3,000 years ago. It is played on a field with 15 members to a team, and requires a skill set similar to modern-day lacrosse. Players use a flattened wooden stick, called a hurley, to pass a ball, about the size of a baseball but lighter, in the air or on the ground, and hit it between the opponent’s goal posts. If the ball goes above the crossbar, one point is scored; if the ball goes below the crossbar into the net guarded by the goalie, your team scores three points.
Hirsch learned about hurling while at Moravian. A member of the inaugural men’s lacrosse team, he and his teammates went to Ireland for two weeks during their senior year where they discovered the ancient Gaelic sport. The summer after graduation, three members of the lacrosse team formed a club in Allentown. Hirsch joined that original team and has been with them ever since. He is currently the team captain. Jason Toedter ’06, formerly a member of the Moravian College men’s tennis team, joined the Allentown Hibernian’s a couple of years ago.
Hurling is an amateur sport, governed in Ireland by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The United States GAA oversees the sport in this country. Competition is organized according to a junior league, which comprises three skill levels: C, beginner; B, intermediate; and A, advanced. The Allentown Hibernian Hurling Club competed at the B level for the national championship and having won, now move up to A. The senior hurling league comprises the best teams in the counties of Ireland.