Gaelic Football: When football isn’t what you expect

in collaboration with: UK Seo

Football is considered the team sport par excellence. This is true both in Italy and in many other parts of the world. However, in certain parts of Europe, this is not entirely true, especially when it comes to Ireland. This nation may not offer one of the major European leagues in classical football but to talk about football here often means talking about the so-called Gaelic sports. Sports disciplines that have their history in the tradition of the island and among which Gaelic football stands out.

Gaelic football is a team sport characterized by the fast movements of the players with very spectacular actions. Gaelic football is a sport that mixes elements of traditional football with those of rugby and basketball, giving rise to fierce matches that ignite the spirits of many Irish people.

How Gaelic football works

In a game of Gaelic football, two teams of 15 players each play each other. The team’s lineup consists of a goalkeeper, six defenders, two midfielders and six forwards.

Each team can substitute a maximum of 6 players per game. If the match is tied and goes to extra time, a team can substitute up to 3 players during extra time. This was regardless of whether or not the team used substitutions in regular time.

There are eight umpires in a Gaelic football match: the umpire, two linesmen, the pitchside officer and four other match officials. The referee controls the game and makes the main decisions on fouls, timing and issuing any sanctions. The linesmen indicate which team last touched the ball when it went off the pitch. There are two referees behind each goal and they indicate whether a point or a goal is scored. The pitchside referee is responsible for substitutions and managing injury time.

Gaelic football is played on a pitch 145m long and 85m wide. Each end has a netted goal 2.5m high and 6.5m wide with posts extending 6m above the crossbar. Each game is divided into two 35-minute halves with a 10-minute break.

It is played with a slightly smaller ball than the normal one. Players can carry the ball with their hands, pass it using their hand or fist or kick it. When a player has the ball with him and advances towards the opponent’s goal he must compulsorily perform actions every four steps. A dribble on the ground or a pass from one hand to another.

How to score in Gaelic football

There are two ways to score in Gaelic football: with goals and with points. A goal is worth three points and is when the player stuffs the ball into the net behind the goal under the crossbar. A point is scored when the player passes the ball over the crossbar between the two vertical posts (as in rugby). Goals are scored only by kicking the ball with the foot while points can also be scored by hitting the ball with a fist or an open hand.

Playing a game

The goal is to score the most goals and points. The game begins with the referee executing a throw-in between two players facing each other.

A team can move the ball down the field with hand passes, kicking and solo runs. A solo run is when a player runs with the ball and alternates between tapping the ball and bouncing the ball off the ground every four steps. This is one of the ways for a player to keep possession of the ball. A defender may attempt to block a shot with his hands. However, he is not allowed to attempt a kick block at the opposing player.

If a foul is committed inside the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded to the team 11 meters from the goal. If the foul occurs outside the penalty area, the team is awarded a free kick at the spot of the foul. If the match ends in a draw, extra time will continue if this method is included in the tournament. Otherwise, the match will result in a draw.

The fouls and irregularities in a Gaelic football match

Fouls are one of the most interesting points as they determine the action and spectacle of this game. In Gaelic football there are two types of fouls: technical and aggressive.

Technical fouls

● Deliberately throwing the ball out of bounds

● Lift the ball off the ground with your hands (only with your feet is allowed)

● Take more than 4 steps with the ball without doing anything with the ball

● Perform the same action twice in a row with the ball every 4 steps

● Being offside

Make them aggressive

● Tackle an opposing player

● Threatening or bullying an opponent physically and/or verbally

● Charge an opponent from behind

● Hitting the goalkeeper inside the small area

Despite the list of fouls Gaelic football is a fairly rough sport with plenty of physical contact, action and spectacular passing. A technical foul typically results in a change of possession without a booking. An aggressive foul results in a free kick or penalty kick and the referee can decide whether or not the incident warrants a yellow, black or red card. A player can be sent off the game with one red card, two black cards (for the team) or two yellow cards.

Some final thoughts

A game of Gaelic football is thrilling because of its fast paced, fast pace. It’s a different type of football to what we’re used to but that doesn’t mean it’s to be despised. In Ireland this football sees its championship in the summer and is very popular. If you vacation during that time in the nation don’t miss out on a chance to watch a game.