CORK hurling captain Patrick Horgan would like to see a return to the traditional white sliotar, believing that the yellow ball currently in use doesn’t provide the same consistency.
Horgan was Cork’s top scorer in this year’s Allianz Hurling League, scoring 3-42 with 3-10 of that coming from play. While common wisdom has it that hurling scores are soaring to unrealistic levels, Cork’s tally of 107 white flags was the second-lowest in Division 1 Group A, 26 fewer than Galway’s.
The Glen Rovers man thinks that the change in ball has played a part in the change in scoring rate.
“I would say it actually has decreased, especially with the yellow ball,” he says.
“It’s not that it doesn’t travel, it just doesn’t travel really consistent. I’m not sure how they’re made or anything like that, but they’re not made the same as the white one anyway, that’s for sure.
While Horgan doesn’t necessarily think he has lost distance, the connection isn’t the same.
“Ah, it’s near enough to the same [distance-wise] but I don’t feel the yellow ball, it just doesn’t come off the hurley that sweetly.
He would certainly favour a return of the white ball.
“One hundred percent, yeah, without a doubt. I think even for players, I think the white ball is easier to see. I’m not sure were any players asked about what they thought of the change, but I actually find it harder to see the yellow ball than the white one. I watched a hurling game last week and I found it hard to see the yellow one on telly.
“I just think panels in general, maybe have a vote on it or something, but I just think I’d like to see every player having a say on whether the white ball or the yellow ball is used. I think if players were asked and it was to go to a vote there, I don’t think we’d be using a yellow ball.
“They’re not a good ball so it’s just something about playing with a white one, I don’t know, there was nothing wrong with it for over 100 years. I can’t see the problem with using them now.
“There was very little talk of how it’s going to come in or whatever, but we just arrived down at training one night and there were yellow balls there and that was it since then.
“There’s been no real talk about it, it was just that when you compare the two, the performance of both balls isn’t the same.”