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Ancient Irish Sport Free to Missoula Crowds This Weekend, See the New Griz Hurling Team

Hurling Team Members Naoise Waldron, Brian Berry and Chad Ireland
Photo courtesy of Jon King

This weekend, Missoulians will have opportunity to see a championship Grizzly team battle for victory in Washington-Grizzly stadium, only this time there won’t be a bunch of shoulder pads to get in the way.

The sport is hurling. It’s been practiced in Ireland for over 3,000 years, but a bunch of students at UM are hoping it becomes a legacy in Montana as well. It also happens to be the worlds fastest field game.

“It’s like a mix between hockey and murder,” joked Brian Berry, an Irishman and player on the Montana Grizzly Hurling team. Though sometimes brutal, the Griz field both male and female players.

Though refined by the inclusion of helmets, the infantry combat training hurling must have provided to the Irish is obvious when one sees two club-wielding teams take the field and prepare to tackle one another.

Though the sport is new in Missoula, the Montana Grizzly Hurling Team is already recognized as one of the best in the country. They recently placed first in an Oregon tournament and will be top seed nation-wide if they win again at home this weekend.

Admission to the tournament on Saturday, April 19 is absolutely free. The West gate entrance will open at noon and the game will begin at 12:30.

The Montana Grizzly Hurling Team is trying to raise funds to head to the national tournament in New York. To do this, they are selling official hurling jerseys that boast of the collaboration between Montana and Ireland. Lathered with phrases like “Is sinne Montana” and “Griz Abu,” the jerseys are a unique combination of two cultures (watch the video below for an explanation). The fundraising jerseys will be sold for $100 at the tournament.

“What we’re looking for basically is just as big a crowd as we can so we can get,” said Montana Grizzly Hurling Team member Naoise Waldron. “We’re hoping to get a bit of momentum behind the team, win the tournament, and finish off on a high before going off to nationals next month

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