Try Gaelic football for St Patrick's Day
Happy St Patrick's Day! Let's celebrate the patron saint of Ireland's day with a game of Gaelic football. The sport has been around in it's official form since 1887 but there have been different variations of football in Ireland since the 14th Century, so who's game?
- 29 friends - each team in Gaelic football has 15 players
- 60 - 70 minutes - senior Gaelic football lasts 35 minutes per half, but that's for the top end of the sport, minor leagues just go for 30 minutes each half. Add in 10 minutes for oranges at half time!
- 1 ball - Gaelic football uses a round ball which is a cross between a volleyball and a football
- 130-145m long pitch - longer than a football, rugby or American football field (expect to put in some leg work in a Gaelic football game!)
- 2 goal posts - goals consist of 2 upright poles separated by a crossbar with a net beneath (think a cross between rugby and football goals)
As the most popular sport in Ireland, Gaelic football distinguishes itself from association football (soccer) in many ways, most noteably players using their hands to carry the ball and the lack of offside rule.
How do you play?
The aim of Gaelic football is to score in the opposition's goal - 1 point for kicking or fisting the ball over the crossbar between the poles, 3 points for kicking it into the net.
You are allowed to use your hands to carry the ball and to fist (similar to a volleyball hit) the ball to other players as well as using your feet to kick it.
Although Gaelic football has a reputation for being high contact, the game has less contact than rugby and American football though considerably more than association football.
The women's game is growing in popularity and has a few differences in rules with less contact.
Keen to give it a go? Take the Play Gaelic Football Challenge and have a sporting St Patrick's Day!
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