Kate Middleton's competitive moment in PDA-packed Irish tour

Prince William and Kate didn't hold back on their trip to Salthill GAA club. Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been surprisingly affectionate towards one another during their three-day tour of Ireland, but the Duchess swapped the cuddles for competition when it came to visiting a local sports club.

The duo tried their hand at the famously difficult Irish sport of Hurling at the Salthill GAA club in Galway, with Kate proving she wasn’t here to make friends as she threw propriety to winds in pursuit of a winning hit.

Kate got to know the local players ahead of the fierce competition. Photo: Getty Images
Kate didn't come to make friends, she came to score goals. Photo: Getty Images
Testing the wind, or limbering up, the duchess wasn't letting anything stand in the way of victory. Photo: Getty Images

Belting balls with her paddle, the duchess was exuberant, if somewhat shocked when one ball was sent flying by her underarm.

Kate squared up, and swung out. Photo: Getty Images
The Duchess of Cambridge becomes acquainted with her own strength as she sends the ball flying. Photo: Getty Images
The Duchess couldn't contain her surprise at the staggering blow. Photo: Getty Images

William was clearly loath to lose to his wife, and gave his turn his all, though we must admit the award for most effort must surely go to the lady in red who put her body on the line.

Britain's Prince William also put his back into it. Photo: Getty Images

Not satisfied with giving Hurling a run for its money, the parents of three also gave Gallic football a red-hot go, with Kate looking slightly more intimidated by the heavy, larger ball.

Kate was cowed, by not conquered by an intimidating handball. Photo: Getty Images
Kate put the boot in, to the delight of her pint-sized competitors. Photo: Getty Images

Not one to back down however, the Duchess gave it her all and sent the bad boy flying, much to her delight.

Posing at the end for a sweet snap with local players, the Duke and Duchess exchanged a warm look between them, that has surprisingly become characteristic of the pair.

Cate and Wills shared an uncommonly cute moment, leaving any rivalry on the field. Photo: Getty Images

A PDA-heavy Irish tour

The couple usually keep public displays of affection to a minimum, unlike the duke’s younger brother, who is regularly seen holding hands with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, however on the Irish tour they can’t seem to get enough of one another.

The couple linked arms in Howth Cliff. (Press Association)

On a walk along the Howth Head cliff, Catherine pulled her arm through her husband’s as he walked with his hand in his coat pocket.

In Galway, she lent in to whisper into the duke’s ear as the pair watched circus acts preparing for the celebrations for the European City of Culture.

And later, the duke gently placed a hand on the duchess as they left the crowds behind in a walkabout.

William reached out to touch Kate's arm during a walkabout. (Reuters)

Body language expert Judi James told Yahoo News UK the pair have ramped up the public displays in a big way.

“Their PDAs have been slowly increasing recently and this cuddle is hugely out of character for them in public,” she says.

“It does seem linked to some of William’s increase in self-comfort rituals, like stomach-holding, hunching and adopting the fig-leaf pose with his hands.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were more affectionate in Ireland. (Press Association)

“These traits suggest he is feeling under pressure, probably from the royal dramas and the split from his own brother. He is seen smiling and laughing in Ireland but his body language suggests some underlying vulnerability.

“Kate, on the other hand, looks more confident, engaged and outgoing in public. She is very much the active one in this double-act now and her rather watchful eye gaze suggests she is doing a lot to support William and to make him grin at every opportunity.

The duke and duchess posed for a picture at the top of the Howth Cliff. (Getty Images)

“The arm-linking on the walk was her gesture but the hugging did look mutual, suggesting increased levels of closeness behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras.”

According to Town and Country Magazine, William also told one royal fan that he loves Kate.

Angela Moran from Westport, County Mayo, told the magazine: “I said to him that I really admired him and Catherine and he said thank you very much. I said I love her and he said ‘I do too, nice of you to say so.’”

With additional reporting by Rebecca Taylor.

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