Soccer V Hurling: Which is the best sport?

Ever wondered who would win in a battle, Hurling vs soccer? We have five reasons for both for you to decide who wins the battle.

Ever wondered who would win in a competition, hurling vs soccer? Soccer and hurling are both popular sports in Ireland. With plenty of lush green fields and wide-open space, we have some fantastic playing grounds to accommodate training sessions and matches.

Just don’t forget your wet gear if spectating a game!

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) governs the national football team and county leagues. Many Irish people play football, traditionally known as soccer, and not to be confused with Gaelic football.

It is a competitive team sport and very popular across both genders and all age groups.

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is one of the greatest amateur sporting associations in the world. It promotes hurling as one of Ireland’s native Gaelic games.

Hurling, or camogie for girls, is more prevalent in some Irish counties than others. If you do live in a ‘hurling county’ you will understand the commitment involved.

Both sports require skill, dedication, and physical fitness, but there are a few glaring differences between soccer and hurling. Here are the top five, then we’ll let you decide what sport is best.

5. Speed V running for your life – key factors in this battle

Speed vs running for your life is another key factor when considering hurling vs soccer.

There is no doubt soccer requires a considerable level of speed. The faster the player runs with the ball, the quicker he can travel with it, and the less likely his opponent will catch up with him.

Hurling, on the other hand, is known as ‘the fastest game on grass’ and this is down to a couple of factors. Like soccer, players are very fit as well as skilled in sprinting extremely fast while balancing a sliotar on the end of a hurl.

But an additional point must be made, and that is if you have possession of the sliotar during a hurling match, you are guaranteed to have a handful of equally fast and very aggressive players prepared to do literally anything to gain possession of that ball.

You would be amazed how fast your legs can carry you when you fear for your life.

4. Tackling V assault – one is full on, the other more gentle

Tackling v assault is a big part of the battle between hurling and soccer.

Tackling can be rough in any sport with the majority of injuries sustained during contact. Players often approach opponents at top speed with high levels of adrenaline, giving them extra energy and strength.

There is also a lot of skill involved, with players given either a yellow or red card should they break the rules. Such rules enforced by a referee keep tackling from getting out of hand. Still, boundaries are often pushed further in hurling.

Tackling in hurling can involve a frontal block, shoulder clash, ground flick, or hook, often leading to blows to the body or head for anyone within striking distance.

Broken fingers from the force of the hurl during a hook are very common during a game. Despite helmets now being worn, no body armour or padding is required. Ouch!

3. Tough V bulletproof – tenacity and strength are huge factors in both

Hurling vs soccer is a tricky thing, but hurlers pretty much need to be bulletproof to survive the game.

Soccer players need to be tough enough to tackle their opponent, withstand extreme weather, and maintain enough stamina and commitment to last at least 90 minutes.

Hurlers, however, need to be pretty much bulletproof. Tackling can be lethal, the Irish weather is wet most of the year, and the guy you’re shadowing is likely to push you around from the moment you step onto the pitch (sometimes before) until the final whistle blows.

The game is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world with a sliotar often travelling more than 90 mph and players suffering from a range of injuries from muscle strain to broken fingers.

2. Glamour V grit – one is more glamorous than the other

Glamour vs grit is one of the top reasons categories when deciding hurling vs soccer.

There is no denying soccer comes with glamour. Wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of famous soccer players are often snapped living the high life, dressed in designer clothes, and driving fast cars.

Many soccer players are famous for their good looks as much as their skills, with their lifestyle playing a big part in the world of professional soccer.

Hurling, on the other hand, comes hand in hand with determination, grit, and commitment.

The journey of the game from being Ireland’s oldest sport, surviving two bans, and almost dying out entirely during the famine, only adds to the pressure on players to maintain the legacy of the game.

1. Bravery V certifiable madness – you have to be brave or mad to do both

In the battle of hurling vs soccer, madness is a key feature.

It takes bravery to play any contact sport. Committing to a team, facing the opposition and striving to be your personal best are all admirable qualities in a sportsperson.

Soccer can be an intimidating game that puts players under physical and psychological pressure.

Hurling, on the other hand, needs to be approached with an almost warrior-like attitude. Believed to have come from the Celts, being used in Irish mythology by Setanta hurling a sliotar down the throat of a big dog in self-defence, to being banned for ‘excessive violence’, it is a sport steeped in history.

And with the use of helmets only becoming compulsory in the late ‘60s, it should by no means be taken lightly. Players are encouraged to steam through the rival team using full force, swinging the hurl as they go.

They must run with the sliotar on the hurl before hitting it, but they can also use their bare hand or their foot to pass it.

So with comparisons made between these two great sports – both among the country’s most popular – we will leave you to decide which is better. And if you’re still not sure, why not try them out for yourself. Which is your winner in the hurling vs soccer debate?

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

We cover articles relating to many activities. Some of our articles showcase gaming and gambling as activities. While we do not take money for bets or own any gambling venues, we feel it is important that our readers know the risks of such venues or sites that we may mention in our articles. Gambling involves risk. Please only gamble with funds that you can comfortably afford to lose. See our legal disclaimer for more info.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more