An Irish Take On a Popular Sport

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More stories from Kyler Simmons

Senior Spotlights
May 21, 2019


The establishment of this sport was the defining moment of Ireland’s Native Games. No, not Hurling, Camogie, or Handball, but Gaelic Football, one of the two most popular sports in Ireland, the other being Hurling.

Gaelic Football has all of the same qualities of regular football, but with the added use of the players hands.

The object of the game, much like standard football, is to score a goal, and get the most points.

To score a goal, the player must either kick the ball (a round leather ball similar to a football), or strike it with your hand, into the other team’s goal, or between to upright posts set on top of the goal.

“It’s basically soccer but with hands,” says Brayden Evans a resident of Syracuse, Utah.

The players are allowed to carry the ball for a duration of four minutes, then the ball must be either hand passed, or soloed (kicking the ball with the toes back into a player’s hand). The other team may get the ball by stealing it out of the air, or shoulder checking the player with the ball. “You aren’t allowed to tackle, but more than one player can check the carrier at a time,” explains Evans.

Unlike other countries major sports, Gaelic Football players do not get paid to play. Unlike American Football players, playing Gaelic Football is not a profession. In fact, many of the 15 players on a team are lawyers, doctors, and teachers. Players can work in any profession.

While not widely played outside of Ireland, Gaelic football is played in outside of Ireland by people of the Irish diaspora. “It’s a pretty fun sport when you can get enough people to play it,” says Chase Tippets, another resident of Syracuse, Utah.  

Of course, Gaelic Football is a male only sport, but not to worry ladies, there is a female only faction of the sport.

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