Four DCU students played for the under 21 Ireland Hurling/Shinty team that fell to Scotland in Abbotstown on Saturday, losing 6-7 to 1-10.
Killian Doyle, currently in his final year in DCU studying Education and Training, was one of the four hurlers who represented his country.
He spoke to The College View about the challenges the players faced in adapting to the hybrid game.
“I wouldn’t say that the pace is much faster, but it is a lot more physical. The game is really a no rules game, well that is what it felt like playing at the weekend.
“The only real way to give away a free is to kick the ball or catch the ball. It’s not overall hard to adapt apart from those two simple rules of not kicking or catching it.”
This was not the first time the Doyle tried his hand at the game, as the Westmeath man played in Scotland for the under 21 side the previous year. At that time Doyle had no intention of returning to the hybrid sport.
“It was a great experience but one at the time I promised myself I would not do again. I have never played or seen such a physical sport.
“My first thought was that this is pure lunacy, but a sport which takes a great deal of skill to play but the skill nearly goes out the window as you just try and keep the ball moving so you don’t get killed.”
The physicality was not the only difference the Irish had team with their Scottish counterparts.
“The Scots have a completely different skill set to that of ours. Their core skill is striking the ball on the ground. They could hit the ball 80/90 yards on the ground.
“They obviously can’t solo run because their Shinty sticks are too narrow and they can’t catch it. So yeah, their skill set is different in the way they only really hit the ball on the ground.
“Sometimes they take it down on their chest and double on it which is outrageous,” he said.
While the Irish team were unsuccessful in their efforts, Doyle was proud of what he had achieved.
“Although it’s not a massive game or event compared to the Aussie rules or similar competitions it still meant a great deal to represent my country.”
With the Hurling/Shinty exhibition match now done and dusted, Doyle’s attentions will turn to helping DCU in the Fitzgibbon Cup. Doyle was part of the side that made the Fitzgibbon Cup final last year and is hopeful for the season ahead.
“After having a relatively good year last year getting to the league final and Fitz (Fitzgibbon Cup) final we were still disappointed that we won nothing.
“But hopefully we can go one step further this year and win out both competitions. We have a very strong panel so hopefully we can push on this year.”
Image Credit: Piaras O’Midheach