Hurling has been described as ‘an Irish secret’ by British presenter Freddie Flintoff.
The Top Gear host was one of the best cricketers of his generation and also had a brief career in boxing before finally retiring from professional sport.
However, in his role as a team captain on comedy sports show A League of Their Own he regularly tries his hand in various sports for different challenges.
In 2018, Flintoff and his rival captain Jamie Redknapp travelled to Ireland to learn about the sport of hurling.
Kilkenny legend DJ Carey put the men through their paces and taught them a few of the basic skills of the game.
As a naturally gifted sportsman, Flintoff did reasonably well and impressed in a penalty shootout that took place live in the stadium during half-time in a match between Kilkenny and Wexford.
The experience clearly made an impression on Flintoff as he was full of praise for the players when speaking at the recent event Sky Up Next promotion at the Tate Modern in London.
The former cricketer said: “It’s amazing the GAA players don’t get paid with all the money around sport in 2020.
“They should get paid, of course they should. GAA is sport in its purest form and from that point of view, it is fantastic. They do it for the love of it.
“These lads give so much for their counties and the pride they have to play means they don’t think about getting paid, but it seems very strange they don’t get paid in this day and age. I’m sure it will change one day.
“I took a picture during our day at the hurling and got one of the biggest reactions I’ve ever had to a post on Instagram.
“Jamie and I were stunned by what we saw.
“The massive crowd, all so passionate about a sport that is sort of like an Irish secret in many ways.
“We knew DJ Carey was a legend, but Jamie and I knew little or nothing about GAA and hurling.
“Jamie and I were a bit nervous because we were thinking no one who is a fan of hurling will have ever heard of me or League of Their Own, but the reaction of the fans was amazing and we loved the game.
“The sticks were flying, and a few people looked like they might end up in hospital, but some sport broke out in between and it was a great experience.”
Here is a clip of the episode from Twitter.
🔥🔥🔥 DJ Carey burns Jamie Redknapp! 🔥🔥🔥
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) October 16, 2018