A player of one of Ireland’s traditional sports, hurling, overcame cramp to dive through the air to catch a ball before scoring, from a kneeling position, in what was described as “the score of the game, of the week, month, and year” on June 29.
James Duggan was playing for the county of Laois (pronounced “leash”) in an under-20s championship game against midlands rivals Westmeath that had gone to extra-time.
Hurling is played with a stick, called a hurley, and a ball, called a sliotar. Scores are achieved in two ways: by hitting the sliotar between two posts and over a crossbar for a point; or by hitting it under the crossbar, into a net that is tended by a goalkeeper, for a goal. A goal is worth three points.
Limping as his leg cramped up, Duggan had just struck the sliotar wide. His body might have been giving up, but his mind was still sharp, as he spotted the goalkeeper attempting a short puck-out. He dived, caught the ball, and then, from a kneeling position, struck it over the bar.
“He didn’t do that – he did!” cried one of the commentators of the game watching Duggan’s feat.
“Un-be-lievable. Mother of god,” said the other commentator.
“That’s impossible!” the first added. “He was on the ground, cramping. He couldn’t stand up. The ball was pucked out, and somehow he leapt into the air, fell back on to the ground, and in a seated [sic] position, struck the ball over the bar.”
Laois went on to win the game, with four goals and 33 points (for a 45-point total) to Westmeath’s 4-27 (39 points). Credit: Laois GAA via Storyful