Some of the sports played in Ireland are referred to as "Gaelic games" since they are organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The major Gaelic games are hurling and Gaelic football. The games are widely popular in the country and attract large crowds of supporter attendances at senior games.
Hurling is a type of stick and ball game where teams of 15 members play it out on a rectangular grass pitch. At each end of the pitch are H-shaped goals and a team must either drive the ball through a goal or kick the ball over the bar to score a point. One goal is made up of three points. The team which accumulates the highest score is declared the winner. Hurling is more than three hundred years old, and it is recognized as the fastest field game played in the world. It combines skills from field hockey, lacrosse, and baseball to make a hard-hitting game. In 2009, a female version of hurling was unveiled with minor rule changes, and it is called camogie.
The sport is a bat and ball game which pits two teams against each other in a field. In Ireland, the game is played on a 70 meters square pitch while the bases are placed 25 meters apart. Nine players are the maximum number of players allowed on the pitch at any one time. The bats used to play rounders can measure up to 2.8 inches in diameter and between 28 to 43 inches in length while the ball’s circumference is 8.9 to 10.0 inches. A similar version of the game has been played in England since Tudor Times. Rounders is also similar to softball.
Gaelic handball features two players using their hands to hit back a ball against a wall. The players attempt to return the ball in such a way that the other player cannot hit back. The sport is played in an alley which can either measure 60 feet by 30 feet or 40 feet by 20 feet. Another type of handball called the one-wall handball has become increasingly popular in the recent years. One-wall handball is played in at least 30 countries making it the most popular global version of handball. Gaelic handball is similar to American handball. Handball competitions in Ireland include the 40x20 Irish Nationals and the All-Ireland Championships.
Gaelic Football pits two teams of 15 players each against each other. At both ends of the rectangular pitch are H-shaped goals. The players of each team coordinate with one another to kick the ball into the other team’s goal successfully in order to earn three points. One point is earned when the ball is kicked over the bar. The team which manages to garner the highest point score is declared the winner. A female version of the sport features minor rule changes, and it is referred to as ladies’ Gaelic football.
Other Gaelic Games
When the GAA was established, it also oversaw several Gaelic athletics competitions, but it passed the mandate in 1922 to the National Athletic and Cycling Association. Tailteann Games as part of the Gaelic Athletics were organized until 1932. Other Gaelic games have thus nearly or entirely died out (for instance, the Gaelic athletics).