Irish Gaelic football is a type of football which is played primarily in the country of Ireland. The sport is commonly called Gaelic, Gah, or just football. In Irish Gaelic, the name of the sport is Peil, Peil Ghaelach, or Caid. Gaelic football along with hurling, is one of the country's most popular and widely followed spectator sports, and it has a huge public fan base. According to the most government recent statistics, Gaelic football has more followers than any other sport, with 34% of all sports attendances focusing on the it alone. The next closest revival to that figure is Irish hurling, which occupies about 23% of all sports attendances in Ireland. With such a large following, Gaelic football is a major cultural cornerstone in Ireland, and anyone considering visiting the island should definitely try to catch a game or two. There are over 2,500 separate clubs in the country, so catching a local game can be quite an easy thing to do.
Gaelic football is administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, as one of four Gaelic games. The GAA is the largest sports organization in the whole country of Ireland, and amassing more club members than all of the other national sports. The organization has very rigid rules regarding player amateurism, with the height of the sport being the inter country All Ireland Football Final. The sport is thought to have been started at some point during the medieval era, however the current rules set was made official in the late 19th century. Many historians and experts consider Gaelic football to be one of the oldest known sports that is still currently played. There are written manuscripts detailing the game as far back as 1308. In one manuscript, a spectator John McCrocan from Newcastle County Dublin, was charged with accidentally stabbing William Bernard, a player who was participating in the games that day.
Although Gaelic football is very popular in Ireland itself, it is also played in other countries as well, especially countries with large Irish immigrant or Irish diaspora populations. In recent years the sport's popularity has even spread to countries without the Irish ethnic connection. There are currently teams operating out of New York and London, who participate in the yearly All Ireland Senior Football Championship, which represents the highest competitive level within the sport. There is also a hybrid version of the sport, where it is regulated by an international sports organization, as well as having an international rules set. One of the main features of this hybrid version of the sport is a series of games between Australia and Ireland. While these international games don't draw as much fanfare as some of the domestic venues, they are still immensely popular in both Ireland and whichever respective country is participating.
The game itself is played by teams that consist of fifteen players. The grass pitch is rectangular, with each end of the field being marked by H shaped goals. The goal of the game is for a player to score a point by striking or kicking the ball through one of the goals. Obviously the team with the highest score at the end of the match wins the game. When players travel up the field, they advance the ball through a combination of soloing, carrying, hand to hand passing, or kicking. Now obviously I'm just scratching the surface of the dynamics of how the game is played, and promise to go deeper into the sport with my next article. I would like to thank you all for reading through this. If you have any information that you would like to add to this article, then please feel free to send me an email. I would ask that if you do submit text for publishing, that it be an original piece that you have full publishing rights over.