Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of
soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games. It is a field
game which has developed as a distinct game similar to the progression of
Australian Rules. Indeed it is thought that Australian Rules evolved from
Gaelic Football through the many thousands who were either deported or
emigrated to Australia from the middle of the twentieth century. Gaelic
Football is played on a pitch approximately 137m long and 82m 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
Each team consists of fifteen
players, lining out as follows: One goalkeeper, three full-backs, three
half-backs, two midfielders, three half-forwards and three full-forwards.
The actual line out on the playing field is as follows:
Players wear a jersey with their
team colours and number on the back. Both teams must have different colour
jerseys. The goalkeepers’ jerseys must not be similar to the jersey of any
other player. Referees normally tog out in black jerseys, socks and togs
Goalkeepers may not be physically
challenged whilst inside their own small parallelogram, but players may
harass them into playing a bad pass, or block an attempted pass.
Teams are allowed a maximum of
three substitutes in a game. Players may switch positions on the field of
play as much as they wish but this is usually on the instructions of team
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 4 umpires (to signal scores,
assist the referee in controlling the games, and to assist linesmen in
positioning ’45’ frees).
A goal is signalled by raising a
green flag, placed to the left of the goal. A point is signalled by raising
a white flag, placed to the right of goal. A ’45’/’65’ is signalled by the
umpire raising his/her outside arm. A ‘square ball’, when a player scores
having arrived in the ‘square’ prior to receiving the ball, is signalled by
pointing at the small parallelogram.