The sport of Polocrosse began in Australia in 1938 as an exercise to supplement work at riding schools and to make the young riders take better charge of their horses. It has grown to become a very skillful equestrian discipline with a solid foundation in good horsemanship which combines the skills found in Dressage with the excitement of Eventing.
Since its arrival in Ireland, polocrosse has been compared to many things but perhaps the most fitting comparison is one that incorporates our own native sport; “Hurling on Horse Back”! The sport has a very relaxed philosophy and huge emphasis is placed upon enjoyment and sportsmanship. It’s a family orientated sport with many great attributes that riders of all abilities and from all walks of life have embraced.
Goals are scored in a game by the designated “Attack” player on each team. The player must shoot the ball between the goalposts which are 2.5 meters apart and located at each end of the playing field.
The attack player must be inside the designated goal scoring area before shooting and the designated defence player from the opposition is the only player allowed to tackle.
There are a series of tournaments run during the year with clubs from around the country hosting an event at their local venue. The highlight of the competition season is the Nationals, held at the end of August each year and rotated amongst clubs so that everyone gets the “home field advantage” on a round robin basis.
For each tournament, players and teams are graded according to their ability, which ensures everyone gets to compete against players of similar skill levels, adding to the safety and enjoyment of all competitors.
The International Polocrosse Council was established under the auspices of Mr. Max Walters from Australia on the 21st of June 1976. The aim of the International Polocrosse Council is to promote international competitions and exchange visits of teams, draw up a common set of Rules of the Sport and generally promote the sport throughout the world.
The primary Polocrosse competition is the World Cup which is held every four years. Irish Polocrosse has been represented well at this level for a number of years with team Ireland finishing in 6th place in both of the past two World Cup competitions.
There is also an annual Tri-Nations competition between Ireland, England and Wales. This is held on a rotational basis with last year’s competition, held at Ballindenisk, Co. Cork saw the Irish come away with resounding victories.
A number of International tours are also held, typically on an annual basis which gives the Irish teams the ability to compete against other nations. Often the senior squads are joined on tours by under 21 and other underage teams to support the youth development programs.
Polocrosse in Ireland is governed by the Irish Polocrosse Association (IPA) and is responsible for the coordination of all polocrosse activities in this country. This includes liaising with Worldwide Association and Sporting Bodies, while overseeing the development & growth of the sport in Ireland.
IRISH POLOCROSSE ASSOCIATION (IPA)