How To Play Gaelic Football

Ever wonder how to play Gaelic football? Gaelic football is a simple game which can be learned to enhance fun, team bonding and competition. In 1884, Gaelic football began in Ireland under the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). However, the sport truly started off much earlier than that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Gaelic football is a national Irish sport that has grown into an international sport with several clubs in America, Europe and Australia. One major factor which differentiates Gaelic football from soccer is the handling of the ball.  

Things you'll need:

  • Two teams of fifteen
  • Field
  • Spherical leather ball
  1. Arranging teams. Fifteen footballers per side play. The ultimate objective is to score on the opponent’s goal post.
  2. Kicking the ball. Two kicking styles exist in Gaelic football: the punt kick and the hook kick. The punt kick is described when the ball is clasped by both hands loosely above the kicking foot. The player strikes the ball with pointed toes. The hook kick is described as the long-distance kick. After the ball is held in both hands, it is kicked with the inside of the foot. The player performs this kick with pointed toes, propelling the ball further.
  3. Passing the ball. Passing the ball can engage the hands so the player can manually transfer the ball. The ball cannot be thrown but shot from one hand to the next. Kick passing is also allowed as in soccer.
  4. Dribbling the ball. The Gaelic footballer can run with the ball, however he has to bounce the ball as well (similar to the way basketball players dribble). This method is called hopping. Footballers also legally move from one point to the next with a series of kicking and holding. This technique is called soloing.
  5. Tackling an opponent. According to the rules, the footballer is not allowed to shove, kick, restrain or jump at anyone from the opposing team. Any player caught doing this gets an automatic suspension.
  6. Shooting the ball. The player executes a goal by scoring the ball either within the football net or above the post bar similar to American football. Gaelic football is scored based on a three-point system where each goal is worth three points.
  7. Timing. Each half of the game lasts 35 minutes.
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