According to the Gaelic Athletic Association, the first references to football in Ireland were in the early 1300s. In the centuries that followed, the game evolved and continued to be played across Ireland, withstanding the test of time throughout the tribulations of history. In 1884, the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded by passionate leaders looking to organize and strengthen native Irish sports. Since then, Gaelic football has grown into what we know today and is played across the globe, including here in the US. For a more detailed history of the sport, check out the GAA’s fascinating account here.
Today, the GAA promotes Gaelic games including Hurling, Football, Handball and Rounders and works with sister organizations to promote Ladies Football and Camogie. In the US, the USGAA promotes the sports of hurling, camogie and Gaelic football in the United States, with over 130 adult and youth clubs under its administration. Playeasy currently markets the USGAA Philadelphia division, which promotes men’s and ladies Gaelic games throughout Pennsylvania.
Gaelic football is an Irish field game involving a round ball that can be carried, kicked or passed by hand. The object is to score into the other team’s goal by kicking or punching the ball either into the net or between the goal posts. Scoring into the goal earns the team 3 points, while hitting the ball through the goal posts earns 1 point. Players move the ball up the field by carrying, bouncing, kicking, hand-passing, and soloing.
- There are two types of scoring in gaelic football. A goal occurs when the ball is kicked into the net. A point is earned when the ball is hit through the goal posts above the net.
- Soloing refers to when players drop the ball and kick it up into their hands. Players can carry the ball for four steps, then it must be bounced or ‘solo-ed’.
- Gaelic footballs are a bit smaller than soccer balls.
- Two teams consisting of fifteen players each compete in gaelic football matches.
- Most games are played for sixty minutes with two thirty-minute halves.
What Gaelic Needs from Venues
Gaelic football games are played on grass fields referred to as ‘pitches’. These are similar to rugby pitches but larger. The pitch is rectangular, measuring 142–159 yards long and 87–98 yards wide. H-shaped goalposts are at each end, formed by two posts, which are typically 20–23 feet high, set 21 ft apart, and connected 8.2 ft above the ground by a crossbar. Below, a netted goal is attached to the crossbar and lower goal posts. Picture a soccer goal with a football goal post on top. Like American football, lines are marked at distances throughout the pitch from each end-line. Youth teams play on smaller pitches.
Gaelic Organizations on Playeasy
- Forms of Gaelic football have been played in Ireland since the 1300s
- The Gaelic games consist of six different games: Hurling, Gaelic football, Handball, Rounders, Camogie and Ladies Football
- In 1695, football and hurling were banned in Ireland in the Sunday Observance act, punishable by fine. The game still carried on, however.
- The Gaelic games are currently played in about 50 cities throughout the US, and this number will only continue to grow
To learn more, check out the USGAA on Playeasy here. We hope you continue to enjoy Playeasy’s Sport of the Week feature each Thursday.