FAILTE - "Welcome" to the Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia website.
Gaelic Football - "the all-round game" of hand, foot and round ball skills - has been played across Australia and NZ for many decades by Irish immigrants, visa workers and backpackers keen to play the national sport of their youth. In Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Auckland the ancient game of Hurling also is played. These days Gaelic football is played by women, men, boys and girls of all backgrounds across all States of Australia (Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart) and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in New Zealand. Primarily this reflects the enthusiasm of Aussies and Kiwis finding the excitement and joy of the world's best all-round game. It also has recently commenced in Hobart, Tasmania in both men’s and women’s codes.
Gaelic football is the most popular sport of Ireland in both participation and spectator numbers. It is the other parent game along with Aussie Rules to the International Rules competition played between Ireland and the Australian Football League.
Even better than International Rules, Gaelic football is a fast free flowing open field game. Teams line out in similar positions to Aussie Rules – full forward, half forward, midfield, halfback and fullback lines, but with the addition of a goalkeeper similar to soccer and no ruck division. Goalposts resemble those of Rugby but with a net under the cross bar. A goal into the net is worth 3 points; a shot over the bar and between the posts is worth 1 point. There is no body tackling though the men's version permits shoulder to shoulder contact with the ball carrier. The ball must be passed by foot or hand-pass similar to Aussie Rules. In men's football the ball also must be taken by hands in the air, on the full or on the bounce or flicked into the hands by foot from the ground, thus soccer skills are particularly useful.
In Australasia and indeed wherever Gaelic football is played [Ireland, Nth America, Canada, UK, Europe and Asia] Women's football is experiencing particularly strong growth. The Australasian Women's team has won the past three Gaelic Football World Cups in Dublin in 2000, 2002 and 2005. Women's Gaelic footy allows women and girls to "bend it like Beckham" but retain much of their netball and basketball skills in the one relatively non-contact field game.
In 2001 Gaelic football met the stringent criteria of the Australian Sports Commission to become an officially accredited sport in Australia. This allows the game easier access to school PE curriculum where Coaches and Development Officers have taken the game to schools it has been enthusiastically received by students and PE teachers as a great fun sport for all-round physical coordination of hand and foot skills as well as assisting aerobic fitness. Particular emphasis is currently being place on youth development with the introduction of “Go Games” specifically targeted at boys and girls at under 8’s through to under 12’s.
Sunday is the traditional day for Gaelic games in Ireland and in winter seasons in most states in Australia this has encouraged some keen players of Saturday Soccer, Aussie Rules, Rugby, Netball etc to have a second sport on the Sunday. In Adelaide, Auckland, Wellington and Hobart a switch to summer night seasons has seen players of traditional Australian and NZ winter codes take to Gaelic as a way to keep match fit over the off-season.
Hurling is an ancient game with records dating back to the 5th century. A game that resembles hockey but with wide ended sticks, the ball hit around high in the air and caught by hand. It is not as dangerous as it looks. When played by skilled participants it is probably the world's fastest field ball sport. It is similar to the Scottish Gaelic game of Shinty, and a hybrid Shinty-Hurling game between Ireland and Scotland has been played as curtain raiser to International Rules Tests at Dublin's Croke Pk.
Camogie, which is the women’s equivalent of hurling commenced in Sydney in 2006 with numbers doubling in 2007. An exhibition game was also played at the 2007 and 2009 Australasian Championships. It is also now played in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, If the participation rate continues to grow Camogie will be added to the codes played at the Australasian Championships.
Whether you're out from Ireland for a year or two, here to stay or whatever your ethnic background -Aboriginal, Maori, Papuan, Anglo, European, Asian, Afro, Nth or South American, Aussie or Kiwi you are welcome to come and play the all-round game of Gaelic football or even try your hand at the ancient art of Hurling or Camogie. If you just want to come and have a pint of Guinness or your favourite brew and watch or join in the "craic" (good fun and socializing) then check out the nearest venues and clubs on this site.
CEAD MILE FAILTE - "A hundred thousand welcomes" awaits you.