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Gaelic Footy History & Info

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Gaelic Footy History & Info

Gaelic Football History
 
 
 

    Football had ancient roots in Irish history, but became firmly embedded in Gaelic hearts during the middle ages.

    Popularized as a parish sport, it was played each Sunday, just as it is now.  After celebrating mass, the communities would gather for the contest.  Each parish would attempt to get a ball past the opposing side and into their parish. 

    It was primitive then, with fewer rules or specialized methods of play.  The game spread because it embraced the entire community, young and old, everyone.

     Because it was so effective at uniting communities and reinforcing a unique Irish identity, the English crown felt threatened and outlawed it in 1690. Such laws did little to deter the game.

    It was not until the terrible famine of the 19th century that the game went into decline. So many Gaels were exiled or murdered when England engineered the An Gorta Mor, The Great Hunger, that the game was threatened with destruction.

    Predictably, the Irish fought back. 

    The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was formed in 1884 in Thrules to promote Ireland's native games, including football.  Michael Cusack envisioned a game to contrast with rugby.  Football would specifically court laborers and peasants; it would be a game of the people.  Let the landlords and lawyers keep rugby.

    The GAA of course wasn't created just to promote sports.  Just as importantly, the GAA wanted to popularize Irish culture and aimed to support the growing tide of nationalist sentiment in Ireland. Irish dance, literature, language and music were promoted alongside Gaelic games.

    This cultural revival culminated in the Easter Rising of 1916.  GAA members were well represented among the ranks of the patriots who died for an Irish Republic.  Although Irish rebellions would attain mixed results, much of the success they did experience was a result of the tireless efforts of the GAA.

Gaelic Football Rules
 
 
Gaelic football is almost like a combination of basketball, soccer and rugby and yet very different.  The game often draws comparisons with Aussie Rules Football.  It is a fast paced game that takes skill, courage and strategy. 
 
Gaelic football is played with fifteen players, thirteen in the US.  There is a goalkeeper, midfielders, defenders and forwards.
 
The object of the game is to score points.  A ball propelled over the crossbar is worth one point; under the bar in the net as in soccer is worth three points.  The team with the most ponuts at the end of the hour long match is the winner.
 
The ball may not be picked up directly from the ground; it may not be thrown.  The ball may be propelled by handpassing: a clear striking motion with the hand, or by kicking the ball.
 
To run down the pitch with the ball you must 'solo' (that is drop the ball and flick it back up with the top of the foot) or bounce the ball every four paces.  You are not allowed to bounce on the ground twice consecutively.
 
Tackling is the same as soccer or basketball.  Basically you can only tackle for the ball, shoulder charges allowed.
 
Gaelic Games
 
The other Gaelic games include hurling, (iomain in Irish) which is akin to field hockey.  The rules are very similar to Gaelic football.  It is the third most popular sport in Ireland, just after soccer.
 
Rounders is a game that is very similar to baseball; in fact it is the prognieter of the national American game.  It is not as widely played as football or hurley.
 
The Red Branch Mythology
 
The name Red Branch is derived from the ancient warrior elite of Ulster, the northern province of Ireland.
 
The Red branch served the king of Ulster to protect their territory from foreign mauraders and rival Irish clans.  For centuries Ulster dominated Ireland because of the Red Branch champions.
 
The greatest champion of the Red Branch was the glorious Cuchulain, who single handedly defended his province from Queen Medb's invading army of Connaught.  The rest of the Ulstermen were under a curse that incapacitated them for a few weeks.  Cuchulain, being half god, was not effected!
 
When Cuchulain recieved a mortal blow during his brave defense of his land, he tied himself to a standing stone rather than fall before his enemies.
 
The doomed rising of 1916 was often compared to the Hound of Ulster and a statue of Cuchulain was eventually erected where the rising took place in the General Post Office of Dublin, Ireland.

Experience the thrills and excitment of Gaelic football!  Join with Mo-Kan's only Gaelic football club!
 
Click "Training" link for the where & when.

Go raibh maith agat!

Go Royals!

Fág an bealach!