Why Ireland’s prime thrower and hurley maker is now backing bamboo: ‘I was skeptical at first’

The well-known tree utilised to produce hurleys might be wholly changed by a different kind of wooden – as sickness and the war in Ukraine have strike standard provides.

Shredder dieback brought on by the fungus hymenoscyphus fraxineus has hit the supply of superior-high quality ash so challenging that some hurley firms have been compelled to near even though many others have had to diversify.

Canning Hurleys – operate by Galway legend Joe Canning and his spouse and children in Portuna, County Galway – is 1 of the most substantial-profile companies to announce they will be closing at the conclude of March this year.

Hurley manufacturer Sean Torpey, who runs a thriving hurley production enterprise in Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, states it can be complicated to maintain up with supply and demand from customers when you will not know if you have enough high quality lumber.

“In some cases you may perhaps not know a tree has ash sickness, you may possibly go through the process of cutting it, and when it arrives to the factory, you recognize that the wooden you just expended time and funds felling is in essence a squander,” he mentioned. .

“This can make it hard for you to fulfill your get, while also making certain you don’t problems your reputation.

“Men and women hope superior requirements from Torpey hurley because some of Ireland’s most effective players use them.

“I just have to be sincere with my clients when we never have good quality components.”

With the source of ash so unpredictable, Torpey made the decision to start earning hurleys out of bamboo, and in 2020 introduced the Bambú collection.

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Bamboo is additional sustainable and sturdy than ash.

“I assume gamers really like the consistency of Bambú hurleys for the reason that usually with ash hurleys, suppliers maintain their best ashes for the very best gamers, so not anyone gets the exact high quality throw,” Mr Torpey said.

“Several superior profile throwers are utilizing Bambú hurleys ideal now.

“John Conlon, the Claire Thrower and former All-Star, is employing one particular now, so you can absolutely see them developing in reputation.”

Clare hurler Séadna Morey resolved to check out Bambú hurley, and he suggests he has not looked back due to the fact.

“I begun taking part in Bambú hurley in 2019,” he mentioned.

“At initially, I was a minor skeptical simply because all I knew was ash, there have been possibilities to ash grass in the earlier, but they just did not perform.

“I tried it and saw what I assumed, and I just beloved it.

“I was afraid my contact would be interrupted or my strike would be distinctive, but none of that occurred.

“I have been applying the very same Bambú hurley for two and a fifty percent years, and in advance of I could do 6 or seven ash hurleys in a period.”

Whilst bamboo hurleys are growing in acceptance, Torpey Hurleys states they will keep on to make classic ash hurleys as they are in bigger need.

Stephen Buckley of Buckley Hurleys of Tipperary’s Clonmel reported Hurley suppliers were being also struggling to satisfy desire thanks to the war in Ukraine.

“A lot of industrial-scale hurley brands who beforehand imported ash from Ukraine now count on Irish ash, which in turn has a major impact on lesser manufacturers as additional individuals compete for more compact Irish ash ponds, “He mentioned.

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“The ashes we get in Ireland are the best ashes for the reason that we have the correct local climate right here, which keeps our hurley good quality constant.”

Mr Buckley stated it was vital to remain related in purchase to remain in enterprise.

Just as Torpey hurleys diversify into bamboo for hurleys, Buckley Hurleys is arranging in advance and has resolved to aim on women’s athletics.

“I am viewing much more and extra women actively playing, so we are designing a camouflage assortment,” he explained.

“Anything is built for adult males, just like vehicles are built for guys, Hurleys – in basic – are made for adult men.

“Body weight and thickness are vital variables in throws and camouflage, so we have to feel about that for feminine athletes,” he said.

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