Archive for the ‘gaelicfootball’ Category

Guinness, Shamrocks, and Gaelic Football

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

There are few things that are more Irish than the things I named in the title of this post. Gaelic Football is a sport almost exclusively played in Ireland. I had never heard of it until about a month ago when one of my friends was talking about it. The rules of the game combined with the way it’s played and how the championships are contested in Ireland make it one of the most interesting games I’ve ever heard of.

Gaelic Football is the ice cream sandwich of sports. It combines rugby and soccer into a game, kind of like how an ice cream sandwich combines cookies and ice cream into a delicious treat. You can score goals, kick field goals, hit people, and play goalie. There’s a little something for everyone. While the game initially sounds super cool and easy, it eventually gets more complicated. You have a limited number (4) of steps (similar to Team Handball). Here are just some of the other weird things:

  • You can’t throw the ball to your teammates, you can only hit it. Which basically involves throwing it into the air and punching the shit out of it. Or dropping it to your feet and kicking it to your teammate.
  • To reset your number of steps, you can ‘scoop’ the ball back up to yourself, which means you drop it to your feet and kick it to yourself.
  • Goals and points are different. A goal is scored by getting it past the keeper, a point is scored by kicking it through the goalposts. Goals are worth three points, and games are scored in a goal-point format, so if your team registered a 3-4 in the game that means you scored 13 points (3 x 3 = 9 + 4 = 13).

The best video I could find that shows how the game is played.

But by far the coolest thing about Gaelic Football (and the other Gaelic games in general) is how it is structured as a sport. Clubs are scattered all over Ireland, with multiple clubs in all counties. Cork alone has 4 divisions of 12 teams on their official website official website, and thats only the clubs that are in their league (there are probably a lot more that haven’t qualified for the division). All of these teams are strictly amateur, none of the players are payed to play. These clubs battle it out to represent the county in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. There are 32 counties in Ireland that all send a representative team, along with New York and London each sending a team, making a total of 34 contesting the championship. This means that if I lived in Ireland I could get 30 random guys together and enter into competitions that might eventually lead to a championship game where I’ve beaten people from all 34 counties, which is REALLY cool. I assume that this is why it is the number one spectator sport in all of Ireland, professional or non professional. It makes me wish I lived in Ireland…..

Cool Youtube video of the week: