St Columb Hurling
The traditional St. Columb hurling matches take place on Shrove Tuesday and the second Saturday following. The usually rough game is played on the streets and in the surrounding countryside, between the Townsmen and Countrymen of the parish, with the shops in the town barricading their windows and doors to protect from accidental damage, which sometimes occurs. The aim of the game is to place the ball in respective goals that are set about two miles (3 km) apart, or take it across the Parish boundary. The objective is to control possession by running with the ball, passing, throwing, snatching and tackling.
The game starts with the throw-up in Market Square at 4:30 pm: a person chosen by the previous 'winner of the ball' climbs a stepladder and throws the ball to the crowd, usually followed by a large scrum.
Game play in the town normally lasts no longer than one hour; this period is non-competitive and the two teams are largely irrelevant: townsmen 'deal' the ball to countrymen and vice versa, whilst the tackles and scrums that occur are generally for amusement only. Play often stops for spectators to touch the ball, said to bring luck or fertility, or slows to allow younger players to participate.
At some point, usually after 45–60 minutes, a hurler or group of team-mates make a 'break' towards their goal or part of the parish boundary. The ball might go anywhere in the parish: sometimes play keeps to roads, though often hurlers go through fields, rivers, woods and farmyards, scrambling over hedges and ditches. In this latter stage of the match the two sides strive for possession, and the actual "Town against Country" hurling takes place. Sometimes hurls are won by a team effort, but occasionally a single hurler may attain the ball in the town and manage to run all the way to the goal or boundary without being caught by any of the opposition.
The 'winner of the ball' (the hurler that goals the ball or carries it over the boundary) is carried on the shoulders of two team-mates back to Market Square, while the victorious side sing the traditional hurling song. Here he declares "Town Ball" or "Country Ball".
At 8:00 pm, the winner returns to Market Square to call up the ball again. This is followed by a visit to each of the public houses of the town, where the ball is immersed in gallon jugs filled with beer. Each gallon will be called up and the 'silver beer' (as it is known), is shared amongst all those present. (From Wikipedia)