George Boyle, who is in his fifties, also suffered a suspected fractured arm in the foiled burglary. The farmer, who hurled for Limerick in the 1980s, returned to his home in Murroe, Co Limerick, around 2.45pm on Monday afternoon and disturbed four raiders.
The men had ransacked the house and it's understood Mr Boyle caught one of the burglars leaving and attempted to restrain him.
However, he received a vicious blow from a hurley to the head resulting in 20 stitches. He also suffered a suspected fractured arm when he was attacked from behind by another man. The gang of four fled the scene in a 2002 reg black car.
"They are in their mid-twenties and there was possibly up to four of them. They got into a small black Volkswagen car with a possible 02 G registration plate. We would appeal to anyone who saw this car acting suspiciously in the Murroe/Cappamore area on Monday afternoon to contact us in Bruff on 061 382940," said a garda spokesperson.
Recovering at home with his wife and children, Mr Boyle is said to have been "severely traumatised" by the ordeal.
Earlier, the same gang raided two homes in the Murroe areas and made off with cash from one home but were disturbed at a second property when the house alarm was activated.