What is gaelic football ? Gaelic Football is the most popular of the Gaelic games and is played on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. Our game is high octane, full of speed, precision, accuracy and intensity.
It is played with a round ball and both hands and feet are used to control and pass the ball. There are 15 players on each team, with only 1 referee.
The primary objective is to score by driving the ball through or over the goals. If the ball is sent over the bar of the goals, this equates to One Point. If it goes under bar, into the goalmouth, this equates to Three Points. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins.
The female version of the game is known as Ladies’ Gaelic football and is very similar to the men’s game, with just a few minor rule changes. The Ladies Gaelic Football Association was founded in 1974.
Since then, Ladies Gaelic Football claims to be the fastest growing team sport in Europe. In 2018, the All-Ireland Ladies Football Final held in Croke Park was the largest female attended sporting event in the world for that year, with 50,141 people in attendance. In 2019, this figure rose to 56,114 people in attendance.
What is Gaelic Football?
Gaelic football is an Irish team sport. It is a form of football derived from traditional Irish ball games.
It is typically played between two teams of 15 players on a rectangular grass pitch, although here in North America we play smaller sized games to suit the smaller sports facilities available.
Positions in Gaelic football are similar to that in other football codes, and comprise one goalkeeper, six defenders, two midfielders, and six forwards, with a variable number of substitutes.
These numbers will change depending on the size of the field available.
Typically, we play with seven a side when playing indoor during the winter, and nine a side when playing outdoors during the summer and autumn months.
How to Play
Unlike in soccer, where players from each team line up in their own half, Gaelic Football players start a game positioned on either side of the half, and pair themselves with an opposing team’s player.
For example, the midfielders from each team will line up together at the centre-line of the field. The forwards will position themselves in front of the opposing team’s goal, and the fullbacks will line up beside the opposing team’s forwards.
Defensively speaking, you are now paired with a player from the opposing team, and you will be “covering” that person for the duration of the game
The game begins with a jump ball between all four midfielders in the centre.
The ball may be held in the hands, however if the ball is on the ground, player must scooped the ball up into the hands by the foot
Players are given only four seconds or four steps to advance the ball.
Players can pass the ball by kicking it, or by striking it with one hand while holding the ball in the other (a hand-pass). The ball may not be thrown.
After four steps, the player may bounce the ball (this bounce is called a “hop”) and take four more steps, kick-pass the ball or hand-pass the ball.
If the player chooses to take four steps after bouncing, they must kick the ball back to themselves (called a solo) after the 8 steps, creating a sequence of four steps-bounce-four steps-solo-four steps-bounce-four steps-solo. etc.
Players may jostle, or shoulder-to-shoulder charge, an opponent when racing to win a loose ball, or when trying to knock an opponent off the ball
A player may try to knock the ball out of an opponents grasp by hitting it with one of their hands. It is important to play the ball in this case, as striking the opponent is a foul
How to score
In the game, two types of scores are possible: points and goals.
A point is awarded for kicking or hand-passing the ball over the crossbar, signalled by the umpire raising a white flag.
A goal is awarded for kicking the ball under the crossbar into the net, signalled by the umpire raising a green flag.
Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of attendance, with the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, held at Croke Park, Dublin, drawing an attendance of 82,300 people.
Outside of Ireland, football is mainly played amongst members of the Irish diaspora, but has proven itself popular with the locals – the 2019 world Gaelic Games saw 85 teams from around the world battling for four days in hurling, camogie and football, and of which 60% of the players were not born in Ireland.
Here in Montreal, Gaelic games are quite popular, with the city playing host to a yearly tournament each May, with teams from all over Eastern Canada and parts of the United States travelling to compete.
On top of that, Ottawa, Quebec, and Toronto will all host tournaments through the summer months, and there is an Eastern Canadian Championship, run the the Eastern Canadian GAA board, which changes location every year.
Gaelic football is an Irish team sport and one of six sports (collectively referred to as “Gaelic games”) controlled by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the largest sporting organisation in Ireland.
Along with hurling and camogie, Gaelic football is one of the few remaining strictly amateur sports in the world, with players, coaches, and managers prohibited from receiving any form of payment.
Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of attendance, and the final of the All-Ireland Senior Championship, held annually at Croke Park, Dublin, draws crowds of more than 80,000 people.
Gaelic football as it is known today dates back to the late 19th century, various kinds of football were played in Ireland before this time and the first legal reference to football in Ireland was in 1308.
Gaelic football is mainly played on the island of Ireland but has been spread by Irish emigrants to 70+ countries. Although strongest in Great Britain, North America, and Australia, the game is experiencing rapid growth in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia.
It is played between two teams of 15 players on a rectangular grass pitch. The objective of the sport is to score by kicking or punching the ball into the other team’s goals (3 points) or between two upright posts above the goals and over a crossbar 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) above the ground (1 point).
Players advance the football, a spherical leather ball, up the field with a combination of carrying, bouncing, kicking, hand-passing, and soloing (dropping the ball and then toe-kicking the ball upward into the hands).
Positions in Gaelic football are similar to that in other football codes, and comprise one goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders, and six forwards, with a variable number of substitutes.
Under the auspices of the GAA, Gaelic football is a male-only sport; however, the related sport of ladies’ Gaelic football is governed by the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association. The rules of both sports are very similar although deliberate physical is not permitted in the female version.
Similarities between Gaelic football and Australian rules football have allowed the development of international rules football, a hybrid sport, and a series of Test matches has been held regularly since 1998.
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