What is Gaelic Football & Hurling?

Gaelic Football

Gaelic Football is a field game which has developed as a distinct game similar to the progression of Australian Rules. Gaelic Football is played on a pitch up to 145m long and 90m wide. The goalposts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than a rugby one and slightly higher than a soccer one.

The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It can be carried in the hand for a distance of four steps and can be kicked or “hand-passed”, a striking motion with the hand or fist. After every four steps the ball must be either bounced or “solo-ed”, an action of dropping the ball onto the foot and kicking it back into the hand. You may not bounce the ball twice in a row. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar by foot or hand / fist for one point or under the crossbar and into the net by foot or the hand / fist in certain circumstances for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points.

Officials for a game comprise of a referee, two linesmen (to indicate when the ball leaves the field of play at the side and to mark ‘45’ free kicks and four umpires (to signal scores, assist the referee in controlling the games, and to assist linesmen in positioning ‘45’ frees).


Hurling

Hurling is believed to be the world’s oldest field game. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling.

The stick, or “hurley” (called camán in Irish) is curved outwards at the end, to provide the striking surface. The ball or “sliotar” is similar in size to a hockey ball but has raised ridges. Hurling is played on a pitch that can be up to 145m long and 90m long. The goalposts are similar to those used on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than in rugby and slightly higher than a soccer one.

You may strike the ball on the ground, or in the air. Unlike hockey, you may pick up the ball with your hurley and carry it for not more than four steps in the hand. After those steps you may bounce the ball on the hurley and back to the hand,

but you are forbidden to catch the ball more than twice. To get around this, one of the skills is running with the ball balanced on the hurley To score, you put the ball over the crossbar with the hurley or under the crossbar and into the net by the hurley for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points.

Each team is made up of 15 players with match officials and scoring values the same as in Gaelic Football. In the North American League, teams are made up of thirteen players.

Player Resources

Guidelines for Safe Exercise Recovery from Exercise Nutrition Hydration Injury Prevention

Video Tutorials

Football Skills Hurling Skills

You can learn more by visiting the gaa.ie learning portal here.