The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is the most popular and massive sporting entity based in Ireland. With almost 140 years of bringing sporting enjoyment for players and fans nationally and worldwide, GAA has become a highly respected sports organization.
They do more than promote Gaelic football. There are also Rounders, Hurling, and Handball sports for male and female professional players. However, the association did not let just anyone join the sporting ranks.
What was the organization like back then and how did it change accommodating modern-day social and sporting trends? Let’s find out!
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When Did the Gaelic Athletic Association Originate?
The Gaelic Athletic Association originated in November 1884 when a group of Irishmen wanted to increase sporting enjoyment for Ireland residents. The meeting for origination took place at Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Before anyone of any social class with sports skills was allowed to play Gaelic football, only the richest in the nation were able to participate. Multiple clubs within the organization sprouted throughout Ireland, making hurling and Gaelic football more popular to spectators.
How Is Gaelic Football Played?
Each team consists of 15 professional players who must score on the team’s goal to score points. The field is set up like a rugby game, except the goals are fitted with netting.
They allow players to travel four steps before they can do a kick or a pass where they strike the ball with their fist or their open hand. You get one point if the ball travels above the crossbar. Three points are scored when the ball travels with a pass or kick below the crossbar within bounds.
A green flag signifies a goal made while a white flag shows a point has been earned. White flags go to the right of the goal area to track points while the green flags are placed to the left.
Different Changes for the GAA Over the Years
There are many changes that the GAA experienced over the years. For example, before 1971, there was a ban on association members from participating in games or spectating other sports not supported in the association such as soccer or even rugby. The ban ended that year to enhance sporting inclusivity for members.
Security Forces members were originally unable to join the GAA as members, but now they can. Games could originally only be played at association-controlled venues. The change in that rule now allows the championship game to be played at Croke Park yearly.
The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is the Most Popular Gaelic Football Event
On every 35th Sunday of the year, the Gaelic Athletic Association hosts the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Clubs from the best Irish counties compete for the title of Sam Maguire Cup (source).
The event takes place annually at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland. It has occurred annually since 1887.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know more about the history of the Gaelic Athletic Association, here are answers to your questions about Gaelic football.
What is the difference between football and Gaelic football?
While traditional football (soccer) dictates that you only use your feet and legs to maneuver the ball, Gaelic football allows an exception where you can punch the ball toward the net. A ball punched into the net will score the team three points. Kicking the ball into the net with your feet will net one point.
How many GAA clubs are stationed in Ireland?
There are more than 2,200 GAA clubs stationed throughout Ireland’s 32 counties.