Some kind of hurling game developed from the medieval and by the eighteenth century it had taken some recognised shape. However, our knowledge of the game is not very specific. The game was adopted by the plantation owners towards the end of the seventeenth century and they gave it the leadership and protection it required. An example is the Cosby family in Co. Laois.
A Hurling Landlord
The Cosbys were an Elizabethan family that settled in Stradbally, Co. Laois in 1563. The first of the line was notorious for his cruelty to the Irish. A descendant of his was Dudley Cosby, who died in 1729. His son, Pole, wrote thus about him in his autobiography: ‘He danced on the ropes as well as any rope dancer that ever was. He was a fine tennis and five player, a most extraordinary fine hurler and very fond of all those things, and practised them very much when he was young and able.’
Dudley Cosby and Nicholas Purcell of Loughmore would have been contemporaries, and the distance between Stradbally and Templemore is not very great. It is conceivable that they had a contest between their estate teams, with a hefty wager on the winner!
This period is known as the Golden Age of Hurling, which may come as a surprise to many, but it didn't last and its decline was rapid