Consistency is key for Cúltech

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The Synthetic Hurley made by Cúltech has increased the consistency of striking, according to recent data obtained from a novel experiment conducted by journalists of thecity.ie.

In a test conducted on the 10th April 2017 the results found the synthetic variant to be 20.83% more consistent than ash-made hurls. The standard deviation (which measures how spread out data is from the average) of the traditional hurl was 18.19m however the synthetic cúltech’s standard deviation was only 15.05m. This confirmed the hypothesis that the synthetic hurley had greater consistency when striking the ball.

The test results also produced some data of interest with regards to the distance one could strike the ball. On this occasion the traditional ash hurley marginally outperformed its synthetic counterpart. In the case of two of the three test subjects their greatest strike was recorded using the traditional ash (81.6m and 75.2m respectively) with the third test subject achieving a max distance with the synthetic Cúltech (65m). This data seems to dispel the myth that a synthetic hurley will help the user achieve a greater distance when striking the ball.  (see fig.1)

Maximum distance achieved
Wood Graphite
Test subject 1 81.6 79.57
Test subject 2 59.03 65
Test subject 3 75.2 74.09

(Fig. 1)

Interestingly, the results also showed that all three test subjects minimum recorded striking distance was greater when using the synthetic Cúltech. The three minimum strike distances recorded for Cúltech were 63.73m, 59.9m and 49.87m. The three minimum strike distances recorded for the traditional ash were 62.37m, 59.72m and 39.17m. This might also suggest a greater deal of consistency from the synthetic hurl. (see fig.2)

Minimum
Wood Graphite
Test subject 1 62.37 63.73
Test subject 2 39.17 42.34
Test subject 3 59.72 59.9

(Fig. 2)

The test was conducted under very strict circumstances in order to eliminate as many variables as possible. All three test subjects used a 33 inch synthetic cúltech and a 33 inch traditional ash hurley when striking the ball. Both hurleys were also similar in weight. All three tests were conducted on the same day under the same conditions (dry, mild, little to no wind). In order to eliminate momentum from the test, each subject was not permitted to move their feet meaning their swing was as close to identical each time. In order to combat the influence of fatigue each test subject took ten shots with a synthetic cúltech then the next subject would go. After every ten shots the test subject would change the hurl they were using. Test subjects took a total of 100 strikes (50 with each hurley). The distance measurement was taken from where the ball first made contact with the ground after being struck from the hurley. This eliminated the influence of a favourable or unfavourable bounce. The sliotars used for these tests were official O’Neill’s size 5 sliotars, all balls were brand new and identical. This eliminated the ball as a possible variable. Therefore the only remaining variable was the material of the hurl. All of these measures were taken in order to make it as fair a test as possible.

Hurling is an ancient Irish game that has been played for over 3,000 years. Traditionally the game has always been played with a wooden hurley (typically made from ash). However in more modern times there have been several attempts at developing a synthetic hurley. Early attempts at this were largely unpopular as the synthetic material was a poor shock absorber meaning pain could shoot into the arm of the user when the hurl collided with another.

However, Irish company Cúltech have developed a solution to this problem and their synthetic hurley has passed all health and safety regulations set out by the GAA. They have done this by using a hollow shaft and using a corked bás (the flat part used to strike ball). The hurley is manufactured using plastic components including epoxy, nylon and graphite. They claim that their product offered a larger ‘sweet spot’ thus offering the user a greater chance of a good strike. Another urban myth surrounding the synthetic hurl alternative is that it increases the distance a player can strike the ball. St. Vincent’s GAA senior hurler Andrew Brennan is a strong advocate for the traditional ash. However, after seeing the data from this research he conceded that Cúltech may be more consistent when it comes to striking. “Traditional ash is still better for general play and there are more options in terms of the shape of the hurl to suit whoever is using it,” he said, “the ash hurleys just look better [as well].”

image1
Average striking distance of ash hurleys compared with Cúltech hurleys.

By Eoghan McGrane

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