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Photos: The Definitive Guide To The Evolution Of The Hurling Helmet

Photos: The Definitive Guide To The Evolution Of The Hurling Helmet
By Conor McCarthy Updated

The presence of the helmet is a staple of modern hurling that we sometimes take for granted. Here we will give you the ultimate guide to help you understand the history and changes that the helmet has gone through.

 Humble Origins

In the beginning you had two choices. 1. No Helmet. 2. Paddy Cap. The Paddy Cap would offer you slightly more protection than having nothing on your head but the trade off was the danger of your hat blowing away during a sprint for the ball.


The Face-Guard-Less Helmet

The first step in a search for head protection lead to the helmet without the face guard. Obviously this helps if someone hits you on the top of your head but is less effective if you take a sliotar to the face. Here's Nicky Brennan in 1982 showing it off

And here is Joe Deane modelling a similar style more recently


 The Flower Basket

An ugly step in the evolution of the helmet was the Flower Basket. Uncomfortable to wear and uncomfortable to look at it offered more protection but less style. There was always a danger if you forgot your helmet on the way to the match that someone would have one of these gathering dust in the boot of their car for you to wear.



The Mycro Fish Bowl

This step in chain of helmet development offered maximum protection from stray hurleys but sacrificed aerodynamics to achieve it. Worn by corner backs around the country, this model was a steady choice but would not win any design awards.



The Alien Mycro

The next generation of Mycro was more aerodynamically sound, but as it's name suggests, it made you look like something Sigourney Weaver was try and kill. The reason you wore this was because your older brother handed it down to you when he bought a Cooper.



The Aston Martin Cooper

The pinnacle of style. This helmet combined looks and functionality. First modelled by nippy corner forwards before others on the team were impressed and rushed to spend €90 on one for themselves. If you didn't wear an Aston Martin Cooper at the county trials you didn't make the team, simple as that. The range of colours also meant it appealed to the more flamboyant hurler who dared to wear anything other than black or navy.



The Helmets we do not speak of

Pioneered by Ronan Curran during the mid-2000s there were a generation of Mycro Helmets which experimented with a faded two tone colour scheme. The experiment was a failure. The helmets gave off the "trying-too-hard" impression and as anyone who has ever seen a TV show about American High School will know anyone who tries isn't cool. These helmets are best forgotten.



The Marc Helmet/New Kids on the Block

Launched by Joe Canning the Marc Helmet is the only modern helmet which has the potential to challenge as the next great helmet. Good looking and cheaper than Cooper's helmets the rarity of Marc helmets makes them exotic and desirable. The number one choice for hurling hipsters at the moment.


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