What is GAA?
The Gaelic Athletic Association, in its modern form, was started in 1884, as an amateur sports and cultural association. However, the sports themselves precede the organisation by many centuries with references to Hurling from the 8th century.
The Sports under the GAA banner are Football, Hurling and Camogie, Handball and Rounders. It is the largest sports association in Ireland with 2,800 clubs and over 800,000 members in Ireland and overseas.
Gaelic Football is the most popular and is played by 250,000 men and women. In Ireland, it is played as a game of two halves over 70 minutes with 15 players aside. It is played on a rectangular pitch with posts akin to those used in Rugby. The objective is to score the most goals (similar to soccer) and/or points which are counted as over the bar and between the posts. One goal is the equivalent of 3 points. A player may take 4 steps with the ball in hand before they have to either bounce, solo, hand-pass or kick the ball into play. While there are some changes to the format for the Asian game, the same basic rules apply.
Hurling is the oldest of Irish sports and dates from pre-Christian times. It is played on the same rectangular pitch, posts and objectives as Gaelic Football. However, the game is played using an ash stick between 30 and 37inches long with a broad paddle end. This stick or hurl is used to carry or hit the sliotar which is similar to a hard, dense tennis ball, weighing about 4oz. It is one of the fastest field games in the world and has approximately 100,000 players. The women’s equivalent is called Camogie and uses a slightly smaller pitch and hurl.