A clareman named Michael Cusack had realised the need for common regulations and this inspired much of his thinking with regard to the formation of the GAA. In order to preserve the game of Hurling, Cusack had begun writing about its revival in 1882 in a newspaper *The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News *and in 1884 the GAA was founded to restore the Gaelic pastimes of old.
Since the foundation of the GAA in 1884 and the introduction of a formal set of rules, the game of Hurling has evolved to the game we see today. The original core concept of man-on man (or woman-on-woman) contests for the ball within the defined framework of a positional game has been added to and eroded to varying degrees over time.
The physical conditioning of the modern player has allowed him to move quickly into space to gain possession of the ball, in many cases uncontested, while a focus on maintaining possession has resulted in the movement of the ball in a more designed manner, giving clear advantage to a team mate. This latter trend has also resulted in the reduction in frequency of use of many of the less controllable skills of both games, for example, the overhead strike in Hurling, as the use of these may often lead to a more equal contest or the loss of possession altogether. The focus on maintaining possession once you have it has antagonistically resulted in the adoption of defensive tactics designed to concentrate players in front of the scoring area or around the ball when not in possession.
While there is much debate about the value of such tactics to both games, modern coaches seek to position their players against opponents they perceive to have advantages over – whether in the contest or once in possession – maintaining the dramatic combat or duel concept of the games. All the while tactical innovation is sought from far and wide to overcome those of their opponents, and improve their team’s chances of winning.
Hurling has also been exposed to the influence of external sources, particularly through the international games played between Hurlers of Ireland and their Scottish Shinty counterparts. The game is played under ‘compromise’ rules agreed between the governing associations and provide an opportunity for players to represent their country in a series of international tests from time to time.