What goes up must come down, but a consensus is developing in hurling that the modern sliotar is seemingly defying gravity for a little too long as it sails through the skies over GAA stadiums.

High-scoring encounters are now a staple of the the game's evolution, and while hurls with a larger bas wielded by players far brawnier than in yesteryear is contributing to a major increase in scoring from distance, the ball itself is playing a major part, and is now set to be scrutinised by a new advisory group.

A standardised ball, with a deeper, less aerodynamic rim is likely to be one of the group's recommendations.

Discussing the issue on the RTÉ GAA Podcast, former Kilkenny great Henry Shefflin said: "I think the equipment in the game of hurling has definitely changed, and the ball itself, I think that is having a massive impact.

"I was at a camogie under-14 match last night and some of the players were striking the ball 50, 60 yards. There were some amazing scores.

"That's the level it has got to now because of the equipment and because of the consistency of the equipment.

"I think tactically, the way the players are being coached to play the game, all these things are feeding in."

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Defensive frailties seem more apparent in this era of attack, where errors can be punished by increasingly skilled practitioners from almost any part of the field.

"I think they're getting better and better. I think they're getting more skillful, definitely," Shefflin said of the modern players.

"Whatever about the hurl and the sweet spot, that takes practice. That's down to the skill of the player. But I definitely think the ball is playing a part because I think the level of resistance with the rims being reduced is not there, and they definitely can travel further."

Equipment aside, referees may be able to level things up for those players on the defensive side of the ball by enforcing existing handpassing rules more vigilantly. Nothing halts high scoring like the turnover, which have come increasingly rare in the modern game.

"Because it's a possession game, handpassing happens a lot," Shefflin added.

"Are some of them illegal? I would say so. If we cut down on that quick ball away it might not be as easy to get it away.

"It gives players more opportunity to turn over the ball, and that's what we like to see, the excitement of turning over the ball."


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