After Eight Years Of Testing The Traditional White Sliotar Is Being Replaced By A Luminous Yellow ‘Smart’ Ball
Tradition is strongly held onto in the GAA but it’s being reported that the traditional white sliotar is being replaced for the 2020 Hurling Championship with a luminous yellow ‘smart’ ball.
The ball has been exhaustively tested over the last eight years. The new sliotar was used in the Celtic Challenge competition last year and received very good feedback from those who used it.
The new sliotar still has to be approved at Central Council next month and if passed it will be used in next seasons Leinster and Munster SHC as well as the Joe McDonagh, Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups.
Speaking to the Independent GAA director of games Pat Daly said it was important for the long testing process to ensure the quality of the ball and is happy that the exhaustive tests look set to pay off.
“We had to try and make sure that we were happy with the ball and then we were happy with the technology and increasingly we’re getting there.”
“It’s standing up to the type of tests that we’ve subjected it to. I remember when we started out with Hawk-Eye that people were saying ‘you’re pretty slow’, we are because we want to make sure it works.
“That’s the same with what we’re doing here. We’re tentatively talking about next year’s championship but there’s a few things that have to happen in January and February for that to happen as well.
“That’s what we’re proposing, we have been at it eight years and the time has come to press the button and push this on.”
The feedback from players who have used the Luminous Yellow sliotar is that it’s much easier to pick up particularly under lights or in bright sunlight.
Each of the new smart sliotars which are produced by Kilkenny company Greenfields Digital Sports Technology – the balls will be standardised and will carry a chip to ensure that it is a “bona fide” ball.
Using a smartphone app the smart sliotars can be scanned on match day to ensure their authentic and Daly believes this will ensure that the integrity of the games are not being compromised, as well as reducing the likelihood of child labour.
“There are two reasons why we are going down this route. Number one is to eliminate the prospect of child labour and the likelihood of the sliotars being made through child labour,” Daly said.
“Number two is to ensure that the ball is not compromising the integrity of the game and travelling too far. The purpose of the chip is to prove that it is a bona fide ball.”