WOMEN’S GAELIC FOOTBALL

In Australasia as in Ireland, Gaelic Football was considered a man’s game in every sense. A tough physical sport that seemed well beyond the capabilities of women. Women's participation was deemed to be in the role of spectator, cheering (not too loudly) their heroes. That was until some mainly Irish girls in Sydney in 1994 decided that anything the men could do they could do equally as well. With the support of their State association they organised games on an ad hoc basis and were successful to the extent that they played a demonstration game at the 1994 Australasian Championships. Much to the surprise (and delight) of spectators the game was of a very high standard and extremely well received.

As a result of the initiative in Sydney those visiting from interstate and New Zealand returned to their home bases and set out to develop women’s football locally. The development was rapid and in 1995 the first women’s football Australasian Championships were contested by New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Auckland. It was fitting that New South Wales were the first winners. Subsequent to 1995, all affiliates have ongoing State leagues and their State teams have participated at the Championship.

Such is the attraction of women’s football that many players who normally competed in other sports such as Australian rules and rugby now play what is considered by many to be the best field sport for women with a minimal risk of injury due to the fact the rules prohibit intentional contact.

The growth at local level was such that apart from Sydney (where there continues to be a ready supply of Irish ex-pats who compliment local girls) in all other States locally born women make up in excess of 90% of players. New South Wales won the Championships in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Auckland were successful in 1997, Queensland in 2002 and 2004, and Western Australia in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

It was inevitable that with women’s Gaelic football being played at such a high level in Australasia the decision was made to compete in the 2000 Women’s World Cup in Dublin. From the squad of 25, locally born players made up 21 of the players which reflected the developmental work put in. The final in Dublin against North America was a cliffhanger with Australasia winning after extra time. In 2002 Australasia defended the trophy and were undefeated after nine games on tour, defeating London in the final. As in 2000 the majority of the squad (23) were born locally. In 2005 they won the competition for a third consecutive time when they fielded a squad made up of 25 Australian born players. They will defend their trophy in Ireland in 2008.

Presently there are 34 teams playing in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

Womens Football Positions:

Goalkeeper
Right corner-back
Full-back
Left corner-back
Right half-back
Centre half-back
Left half-back
Midfielder
Midfielder
Right half-forward
Centre half-forward
Left half-forward
Right corner-forward
Full-forward
Left corner-forward