Upping The Ante: Fear not, mass defences won’t cramp hurling’s style

Despite some recent pessimism being voiced, the small-ball code remains a terrific spectacle where true artistry can flourish

Cathal Mannion

‘God this is ugly hurling,” tweeted Laois manager Eddie Brennan during the early skirmishes of Limerick’s league semi-final clash against Dublin a week ago. “As near as it gets to (all-out) defending which has destroyed Gaelic football,” he went on. “Dublin coming with a plan to saturate between the 45s and frustrating Limerick.”

Gaelic football, bruised but unbowed, is coming through a trying decade or so of defensive tactics, all the better for ...