Like baseball production, hurling ball production is being outsourced from the country in which the game is predominantly played. The hurling ball is now being produced in places like Pakistan and China (a brief entertaining account is provided by Josh Chetwynd in his book The Secret History of Balls). However, it is not just a matter of stitching and costs of production. There is also a matter of innovation in the production of the core (centre) of the ball. Ignoring the pun, it was something that was sprung on the GAA about a decade ago as the balls started bouncing to unprecedented heights. A sample of the media comments are reproduced below (from a PowerPoint presentation from Kevin Cronin and his colleagues here).
The GAA funded research on the issue. Some of the research can be found in two papers by Fiachra Collins, Dermot Brabazon and Kieran Moran of Dublin City University (here and here). Collins, Brabazon and Moran set about examining the impact bahaviour of 4 types of hurling ball core ranging from the more tradition core (80% cork wraped in 20% yarn) to the newer core (100% polyurethane-based polymer).
Previously, the bounce of the ball was tested by dropping it from a height of 1.8m. The team at DCU developed a testing laboratory that tests the core with various impact speeds, e.g. 5m/s of 20m/s. An impact test is illustrated directly below.