Tactics in hurling

Tactics in hurling, do they work and whats the most effective? Or is it a hyoe of the modern game?

Reading some articles the past few days. Highlighted the fact that Kilkenny and Tipp over the last few years obviously have landed most all Irelands playing orthodox 15, though tgat could be argued to some degree. TJ also saying that Kilkenny will play you at any system and win because of the players. Again thats debatable.

But in hurling is it really a game where tactics really work? I remember the days when the 3rd midfielder was the big thing, revolutionary!!. Limerick of today play a lovely game working the lines but creating space inside.Corks running game of the 00s. Waterfords sweeper. Even ourselves under Dalo the extra defender.

But does it all just come down to best hurlers at the end of the day or has a tactic and gameplan won all Irelands for teams who might not be the best team?

At club level is it a big thing? Watching Cuala over the last few years the one tactic seemed to be get the ball to Con in the right area, and Cronins running game aided that

I would maintain that having a tactical awareness is crucial for any team but not to be bound by it at the same time. Hurling is about winning your own ball and using it well coupled with the team aspect of creating space and closing off space.

Sometimes coaches even at club level have so many poles and cones on the pitch that they are confusing players and stopping them from playing with freedom. As Eamon O shea would say he’s never seen a cone or a pole in the middle of a pitch during a game. Players need to become aware of the space they are operating in and be adaptable to different situations. The game is so fluid that things happen all the time that you can’t plan for.

You still need a tactical awareness as to how to create/cut off this space and work the ball into best areas for shooting. That and bringing intensity to your training/matches is a priority for me.


Tactics can be a game changer where you’ve two equally matched sides and one has figured out how to get the best out of their 15 and find weaknesses in the opposition, ultimately and at the highest level no tactic is going to get you silverware without real quality players who can think for themselves

@Ground_hurler, as a matter of interest what articles have you been reading? Me likey linkey.

Kilkenny and the best teams have always used tactics, regardless of what they say in public

Original sweeper was Brian Hogan but cheap analysts think Derek McGrath invented it.

Sorry Hogan was a deep lying centre half

That’s a very good summary that I’d agree with. I think tactics need to simple to be any way effective. Always baffled at the amount of time a team will spend practicing a drill in a scenario that’s seldom occurring on the pitch. Wouldnt have knowledge or experience of the intercounty scene but you would think there is some level of tactics involved in every county side. However by the nature of the game a lot of game plans go out the window and it becomes a case of the better team on the day prevailing. It’s something to love about the game too in my opinion.

John Leahy of Tipp and Jamsie O’Connor of Clare were each covering huge amounts of ground between their respective full-back and half-back lines throughout the 1990’s. They also had great potential to pop up further up the field and grab a score or two.
I am sure others were doing the same for their counties before that.
@Damothedub has also made a very valid point about identifying weaknesses in the opposition and maybe doing as much damage as possible before these weaknesses are shored up.