Gaelic Athletic Association
Overview
 
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games
Gaelic games
Gaelic games are sports played in Ireland under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The two main games are Gaelic football and hurling...

, which include the traditional Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 sports of hurling
Hurling
Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

, camogie
Camogie
Camogie is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women; it is almost identical to the game of hurling played by men. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and world wide, largely among Irish communities....

, Gaelic football
Gaelic football
Gaelic football , commonly referred to as "football" or "Gaelic", or "Gah" is a form of football played mainly in Ireland...

, handball
Gaelic handball
Gaelic handball is a sport similar to Basque pelota, racquetball, squash and American handball . It is one of the four Gaelic games organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association...

 and rounders
Rounders
Rounders is a game played between two teams of either gender. The game originated in England where it was played in Tudor times. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a round wooden, plastic or metal bat. The players score by...

. The GAA also promotes Irish music and dance
Irish dance
Irish dancing or Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating in Ireland which can broadly be divided into social dance and performance dances. Irish social dances can be divided further into céilí and set dancing...

, and the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

.

It has more than 1 million members worldwide.
Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular activities promoted by the organisation, and the most popular sports in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 in terms of attendances.
Encyclopedia
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games
Gaelic games
Gaelic games are sports played in Ireland under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The two main games are Gaelic football and hurling...

, which include the traditional Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 sports of hurling
Hurling
Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

, camogie
Camogie
Camogie is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women; it is almost identical to the game of hurling played by men. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and world wide, largely among Irish communities....

, Gaelic football
Gaelic football
Gaelic football , commonly referred to as "football" or "Gaelic", or "Gah" is a form of football played mainly in Ireland...

, handball
Gaelic handball
Gaelic handball is a sport similar to Basque pelota, racquetball, squash and American handball . It is one of the four Gaelic games organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association...

 and rounders
Rounders
Rounders is a game played between two teams of either gender. The game originated in England where it was played in Tudor times. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a round wooden, plastic or metal bat. The players score by...

. The GAA also promotes Irish music and dance
Irish dance
Irish dancing or Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating in Ireland which can broadly be divided into social dance and performance dances. Irish social dances can be divided further into céilí and set dancing...

, and the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

.

It has more than 1 million members worldwide.
Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular activities promoted by the organisation, and the most popular sports in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 in terms of attendances. Gaelic football is also the largest participation sport in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

.

The women's version of these games, ladies' Gaelic football
Ladies' Gaelic football
Ladies' Gaelic football is a team sport for women, very similar to Gaelic football, and co-ordinated by the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association...

 and camogie
Camogie
Camogie is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women; it is almost identical to the game of hurling played by men. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and world wide, largely among Irish communities....

, are organised by the independent but closely linked Ladies' Gaelic Football Association
Ladies' Gaelic Football Association
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association is the organisation which promotes and regulates ladies' Gaelic football in Ireland.The association has also selected the Ireland women's international rules football team, which will play the Australia women's international rules football team in...

 and the Camogie Association of Ireland respectively.
GAA Handball
GAA Handball
GAA Handball Ireland is the governing body for the sport of handball. Its headquarters is located in Croke Park, Dublin....

 is the Irish governing body for the sport of handball.

Since its foundation in the late 19th century, the GAA has grown to become a major influence in Irish sporting and cultural life with considerable reach into communities throughout Ireland and among the Irish diaspora.

Foundation and aims

The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 1 November 1884, in the billiards room of Lizzie Hayes' Commercial Hotel
Hayes' Hotel
Hayes Hotel is a hotel in Libery Square Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland. In 1884 the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in the billiards room of the hotel.- History :...

, Thurles
Thurles
Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

, County Tipperary
County Tipperary
County Tipperary is a county of Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster and is named after the town of Tipperary. The area of the county does not have a single local authority; local government is split between two authorities. In North Tipperary, part of the Mid-West Region, local...

. All present that day had come in response to a circular published in the national press, or had been invited privately by Michael Cusack
Michael Cusack
Michael Cusack was an Irish teacher and founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association.-His Life:...

 and Maurice Davin
Maurice Davin
Maurice Davin was an Irish farmer who became co-founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association. He was also the first President of the GAA and the only man ever to serve two terms as president.He was born in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary...

, both of whom were leading figures in Irish athletics. From its very beginning the GAA was considered to be no mere sporting organisation, with T. E. O'Sullivan their first historian noting that the association was founded by men who wished to foster a spirit of earnest nationality and as a means of saving thousands of young Irishmen from becoming mere West Britons. A police report written by Inspector A. W. Waters in the mid-1880s claimed that the GAA had been founded by the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

 with the intention of getting the muscular youth of the country into an organisation, drilled and disciplined to form a physical power capable of over-awing and coercing the home rule government of the future. Marcus de Búrca, author of The GAA A History (1980), writing in the Tipperary Historical Journal (2004), notes that the suggestion that the IRB were the true founders of the GAA, far from this theory fading out the further away we move from the 1880s, the more convincing it is becoming, in light of new information coming to light,

While the accepted number of founding members is seven according to Marcus de Búrca, there was probably not more than thirteen and possibly only eight who attended the meeting in Hayes'. Cusack himself put the figure at twelve, changing it later to nine. F. R. Moloney of Nenagh
Nenagh
Nenagh is the county town of North Tipperary in Ireland. It is the administrative centre of North Tipperary and in 2011 it had a recorded population of 7,995. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Ormond Lower...

 while undoubtedly attending, was not included on the list of attendees. W. F. Mandle, says that Moloney a leading IRB member, 'notoriously so' attended and that his presence at the meeting was not made public. Two other members of the Brotherhood who were recorded as attending were John Wyse Power, who would become one of the secretaries of the Association and James K. Bracken from Templemore
Templemore
Templemore is a town in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty. It is part of the Roman Catholic parish of Templemore, Clonmore and Killea....

, County Tipperary
County Tipperary
County Tipperary is a county of Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster and is named after the town of Tipperary. The area of the county does not have a single local authority; local government is split between two authorities. In North Tipperary, part of the Mid-West Region, local...

. P. S. O'Hegarty, a former member of the Supreme Council of the Brotherhood, while suggesting that they were probably all Fenian
Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

s, says that at least four of the seven of them were.

Also present was Joseph Ryan, a local solicitor, John McKay a journalist from Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, and St. George McCarthy, a District Inspector of the RIC in Templemore. It seems likely according to Mandle that William Foley, from Carrick-on-Suir
Carrick-on-Suir
Carrick-on-Suir is a town in South Tipperary in Ireland. As the name – meaning "the rock of the Suir" – suggests, the town is situated on the River Suir. The of the town gives the population as 5,906 and shows that it has grown by 5.7% since 2002...

, Dwyer Culhane, William Delahunty, John Butler and Michael Cantwell all from Thurles
Thurles
Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

 were also present. Another leading IRB member, John Sweeney from Loughrea was prevented through illness from being present. The IRB
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

 by 1886 dominated the GAA executive and Cusack as secretary was ousted.

Aims

The initial plan was to resurrect the ancient Tailteann Games
Tailteann Games
The Tailteann Games were an ancient sporting event held in Ireland in honour of the goddess Tailtiu. They ran from 632 BC to 1169-1171 AD when they died out after the Norman invasion....

  and establish an independent Irish organisation for promoting athletics, but hurling and Gaelic football eventually predominated. The following goals were set out:
  1. To foster and promote native Irish pastimes
  2. To open athletics to all social classes
  3. To aid in the establishment of hurling and football clubs which would organise matches between counties

The Gaelic Athletic Association in the twentieth century

In 1918 the GAA was banned by the British government, but Gaelic games were still played. It was very closely associated with the nationalist
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 cause and got caught up in the troubled politics of the age. In 1919, the association took a decision to expel any civil servants who had taken the Oath of Allegiance
Oath of allegiance
An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country. In republics, modern oaths specify allegiance to the country's constitution. For example, officials in the United States, a republic, take an oath of office that...

. In November 1920, RIC
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

 policemen and British Soldiers surrounded Croke Park and fired indiscriminately into the crowd and onto the field killing 14 innocent people as a reprisal for political violence that had taken place earlier in the day elsewhere in Dublin. The day came to be known as Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (1920)
Bloody Sunday was a day of violence in Dublin on 21 November 1920, during the Irish War of Independence. In total, 31 people were killed – fourteen British, fourteen Irish civilians and three republican prisoners....

 and one of the stands in Croke Park was subsequently named after Michael Hogan, a Tipperary footballer who was among the dead.

In 1922 it gave up the task of promoting athletics to the National Athletic and Cycling Association.

In 1984 the GAA celebrated its hundredth year in existence. This anniversary was celebrated by the GAA with numerous events throughout the island. The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
The GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship is an annual hurling competition organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association since 1887 for the top hurling teams in Ireland....

 final was played in Semple Stadium
Semple Stadium
Semple Stadium, located in Thurles, North Tipperary, Ireland, is the home of hurling for Tipperary GAA and for the province of Munster. It is the second largest stadium in Ireland with a capacity of 53,500....

 in Thurles
Thurles
Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

 to honour the town in which the GAA was founded.

Domestic

The GAA organises competitive games in both codes and at all levels from youth all the way up to adult senior.

The highest level of competitions in the GAA are the inter-county All-Ireland Championships where the counties of Ireland compete to win the Provincial championships
Provincial championships
A Provincial Championship occurs in the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland. There are four Provincial councils in Ireland; Ulster, Connacht, Leinster and Munster as well as councils outside Ireland such as that which covers Britain...

, All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
The All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the premier competition in Gaelic football, is a series of games organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association and played during the summer and early autumn...

 and All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
The GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship is an annual hurling competition organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association since 1887 for the top hurling teams in Ireland....

. Before 1892, the winning club in each county championship contested the All-Ireland championship representing their county. In 1892, Congress granted permission for the winning club in each county championship to use players from other clubs in the county. This evolved into the modern practice of county teams consisting of players selected from various clubs throughout the county.

The inter-county All-Ireland championships have become the most prestigious competitions in the GAA and major national sporting events. The All-Ireland finals attract capacity crowds of over 80,000 at Croke Park, domestic television audiences on a par with international soccer and rugby, and worldwide viewing audiences.

Internationals

While some units of the GAA outside Ireland participate in Irish competitions, the GAA does not hold internationals played according to the rules of either Gaelic football or hurling. Compromise rules have been reached with two "related sports."

Hurlers play an annual fixture against a national shinty
Shinty
Shinty is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England and other areas in the...

 team from Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

International Rules Football
International rules football
International rules football is a team sport consisting of a hybrid of football codes, which was developed to facilitate international representative matches between Australian rules football players and Gaelic football players....

 matches have taken place between an Irish national team
Ireland international rules football team
The Ireland International rules football team is the representative team for Ireland in international rules football, a compromise between Gaelic football and Australian rules football...

 drawn from the ranks of Gaelic footballers, against an Australian national team
Australia international rules football team
This article concerns the men's team; for information on the Australian women's team, see Australia women's international rules football team....

 drawn from the Australian Football League
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

. The venue alternates between Ireland and Australia. In December 2006 the International series between Australia and Ireland was called off due to excessive violence in the matches, but resumed in October 2008 when Ireland won a two test series in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Modern challenges

The association today defines itself as "a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic games and pastimes."

Additional aims of the association are stated as:
  1. To actively support the Irish language, traditional Irish dancing, music, song, and other aspects of Irish culture. It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs.
  2. To promote its aims amongst communities abroad through its overseas units.
  3. To support the promotion of Camogie and Ladies Gaelic Football.
  4. To support Irish industry by sourcing equipment from Irish manufacturers.

Ireland has changed rapidly since the mid 1990s. EU enlargement, combined with the Celtic Tiger
Celtic Tiger
Celtic Tiger is a term used to describe the economy of Ireland during a period of rapid economic growth between 1995 and 2007. The expansion underwent a dramatic reversal from 2008, with GDP contracting by 14% and unemployment levels rising to 14% by 2010...

 economy, had led to a large influx of foreign nationals from the EU's new member states in Eastern Europe. This means that a large proportion of the country's population is now outside the traditional native-born family structure through which the GAA tradition was passed from generation to generation. This presents a challenge to an organisation that was previously not geared towards marketing itself to people who have not heard of it or its games, and instead relied on people who had been reared watching and playing Gaelic games. The GAA has launched a number of projects to attract non-traditional members such as consulting with the Australian Football League
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

 and running leagues aimed at non-Irish nationals. The fact that increasing numbers of Irish people live in cities presents challenges to the GAA as well.

Maintaining the GAA's activities in the overseas units is also a challenge for the modern association with the number of Irish people emigrating overseas in decline. Despite the large Irish diaspora, Gaelic games remain fairly low-profile outside of the Irish expatriate community. Initiatives such as full-time development officers and high-profile competitions such as the Continental Youth Championship
Continental Youth Championship
The Continental Youth Championship is an annual weekend tournament of gaelic football and hurling organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association. It is contested by teams from the USA and Canada, and is a separate competition from the existing youth championships in the New York, Canadian, and NACB...

 and a North American College Hurling Championship currently contested between UC Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 and Stanford
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 are helping to bring the games to non-Irish people everywhere, while the British GAA
British GAA
The British Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association or British GAA is the only provincial council of the Gaelic Athletic Association outside Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in Great Britain...

 is promoting Gaelic games to youth in Britain.

Structure

The GAA is a democratic association consisting of various boards, councils, and committees organised in a structured hierarchy, and the basic unit of the association is the club. Its world headquarters are at Croke Park
Croke Park
Croke Park in Dublin is the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association , Ireland's biggest sporting organisation...

. All of the association's activities are governed by the Official Guide. Each County Board may have its own by-laws, none of which may conflict with the Official Guide. Each Divisional Board may have its own regulations, none of which may duplicate or contradict the Official Guide or county by-laws.
  • Annual Congress
  • President
    Presidents of the Gaelic Athletic Association
    The role of President of Gaelic Athletic Association has existed since the foundation of the GAA . The current president of the GAA is Christy Cooney. The role of President involves representing the GAA in Ireland and across the world...

  • Central Council
  • Provincial councils
  • County Board
    GAA county
    A Gaelic Athletic Association county is a geographic region within the Gaelic Athletic Association , controlled by a county board and originally based on the counties of Ireland as they were in 1884. While the counties of Ireland have changed since the foundation of that date, the GAA counties have...

    • Divisional Board (in larger counties)
    • Sport specific board (in some counties)
  • Club Committee


All of these bodies are elected on a democratic basis and the members are volunteers. There is a small paid staff.

The organisation is overseen by the President, currently Christy Cooney
Christy Cooney
Christy Cooney is the current President of the Gaelic Athletic Association...

. The President travels across Ireland and the world to promote the organisation and attend games; Cooney's predecessor Nickey Brennan
Nickey Brennan
Nickey Brennan is a retired Irish sportsperson. He played hurling with his local club Conahy Shamrocks and with the Kilkenny senior inter-county team in the 1970s...

 travelled over 250000 kilometres (155,343.2 mi) in Ireland alone during his three years as President, and visited Great Britain, Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East on several occasions, meeting dignitaries such as New York City mayor
Mayor of New York City
The Mayor of the City of New York is head of the executive branch of New York City's government. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and state laws within New York City.The budget overseen by the...

 Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

 along the way.

The Director General of the Association is the person who leads the executive work of the Association and oversees the work of the full-time staff, the current holder of the post is former Monaghan County Board
Monaghan GAA
The Monaghan County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association or Monaghan GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Monaghan and the Monaghan inter-county football and hurling teams. Separate county boards are responsible for the...

 Chairman Paraic Duffy
Paraic Duffy
Paraic Duffy is the 18th Director General of the Gaelic Athletic Association and a former chairman of the Monaghan county board. He replaced Liam Mulvihill in November 2007. Paraic is currently employed as the GAA's player welfare officer but will take up his position as Director General on...

 who was appointed in 2008.

Cultural activities

Through a division of the association known as Scór
Scór
Scór is a division of the Gaelic Athletic Association charged with promotion of cultural activities, and the name of a series of annual competitions in such activities.Rule 4 of the GAA's official guide reads:...

 (Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 for "score") the GAA promotes Irish cultural activities, running competitions in music, singing, dancing and storytelling.

Rule 4 of the Official Guide states:

The Association shall actively support the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

, traditional Irish dancing, music, song, and other aspects of Irish culture. It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs.


The group was formally founded in 1969, and is promoted through various GAA clubs throughout Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 (as well as some clubs outside of Ireland).

Cultural impact

The Gaelic Athletic Association has grown to become the largest and most popular sporting organisation in Ireland with over 1 million members including those in clubs beyond the island of Ireland (referred to overseas units), more than 2600 member clubs, of which 300 are outside Ireland, and manages about five-hundred grounds throughout the world.

The extinction of the Gaelic games of hurling and the native style of football
Caid (sport)
Caid is the name given to various ancient and traditional Irish football games. "Caid" is now used by people in some parts of Ireland to refer to modern Gaelic football.The word caid originally referred to the ball which was used...

 was averted in the nineteenth century. The rules of both hurling and football were standardised, which helped to spur the growth of the modern games since they were now being organised on a structured basis.

Hurling and Gaelic football have become the most popular spectator sports in the Republic of Ireland; 1,962,769 attendances were recorded at senior inter-county hurling and football championship games in 2003 while 60% of all attendances to sports events in the Republic of Ireland were at Gaelic games, with 34% of the total going to Gaelic football and 23% to hurling. Soccer is the closest rival with 16%. This presence means that the GAA has become a major player in the sporting life of Ireland and in the country's cultural life though its Scór
Scór
Scór is a division of the Gaelic Athletic Association charged with promotion of cultural activities, and the name of a series of annual competitions in such activities.Rule 4 of the GAA's official guide reads:...

 section. The association is recognised as a major generator of social capital thanks to its promotion of healthy pastimes, volunteering, and community involvement.

Grounds

The GAA has many stadiums in Ireland and beyond. Every county, and nearly all clubs, have grounds on which to play their home games, with varying capacities and utilities.

The hierarchical structure of the GAA is applied to the use of grounds. Clubs play at their own grounds for the early rounds of the club championship, while the latter rounds from quarter-finals to finals are usually held at a county ground, i.e. the ground where the Inter county
GAA county
A Gaelic Athletic Association county is a geographic region within the Gaelic Athletic Association , controlled by a county board and originally based on the counties of Ireland as they were in 1884. While the counties of Ireland have changed since the foundation of that date, the GAA counties have...

 games take place or where the county board is based. For example, a team like Gweedore GAA
Gweedore GAA
Gaoth Dobhair GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association club based in the parish of Gweedore in northwest County Donegal, Ireland. Their home ground is at Machaire Gathlán, and they are currently the most successful club in the Donegal Senior Football Championship....

 will play most of its games at Páirc Mhic Eiteagáin, if they reach the final of the club championship then the game will be played in MacCumhail Park
MacCumhail Park
MacCumhail Park is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Ballybofey, County Donegal, Ireland. It is the main grounds of Donegal GAA's Gaelic football and hurling teams. The ground is named after Seán MacCumhail and has a capacity of 17,500....

, Ballybofey
Ballybofey
Ballybofey is a town located on the south bank of the River Finn, County Donegal, Ireland. Along with the smaller town of Stranorlar on the north side of the River Finn, Ballybofey makes up the Twin Towns....

.
The provincial championship finals are usually played at the same venue every year. However, there have been exceptions such as in Ulster
Ulster GAA
The Ulster Council is a Provincial council of the Gaelic Athletic Association sports of hurling, Gaelic football, camogie, and handball in the province of Ulster. The headquarters of the Ulster GAA is based in Armagh City....

, where in 2004 and 2005 the Ulster Football Finals
Ulster Senior Football Championship
For information on this years competition, see Ulster Senior Football Championship 2011-2010 Draw:-2009 Draw:-2008 Draw:-Top winners:* All-Ireland winning years in bold.-Roll of honour:Notes:* 1907 No final result in records...

 were played in Croke Park, due to the fact that the anticipated attendance was likely to far exceed the capacity of the traditional venue of St Tiernach's Park, Clones
Clones
Clones is a small town in western County Monaghan, in the 'border area' of the Republic of Ireland. The area is part of the Border Region, earmarked for economic development by the Irish Government due to its currently below-average economic situation...

.

Croke Park

Croke Park
Croke Park
Croke Park in Dublin is the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association , Ireland's biggest sporting organisation...

 is the GAA's flagship venue and is known colloquially as Croker or Headquarters, since the venue doubles as the GAA's base. With a capacity of 82,300, it ranks among the top five stadiums in Europe by capacity, having undergone extensive renovations for most of the 1990s and early 21st century. Every September, Croke Park hosts the All-Ireland inter-county Hurling and Football Finals as the conclusion to the summer championships. Croke Park holds the All-Ireland club football and hurling finals on every St. Patrick's Day.

Other grounds

The next three biggest grounds are all in Munster
Munster
Munster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the south of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes...

 - Semple Stadium
Semple Stadium
Semple Stadium, located in Thurles, North Tipperary, Ireland, is the home of hurling for Tipperary GAA and for the province of Munster. It is the second largest stadium in Ireland with a capacity of 53,500....

 in Thurles
Thurles
Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

, Co. Tipperary, with a capacity of 53,000, the Gaelic Grounds
Gaelic Grounds
The Gaelic Grounds or Páirc na nGael is the principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Limerick City, Ireland, home to the Limerick hurling and football teams....

 in Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

, which holds 50,000 and Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Páirc Uí Chaoimh is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in the Ballintemple area of Cork in Ireland, where major hurling and Gaelic football matches are played. It is the home of Cork GAA...

, Co. Cork, which can accommodate 43,500.

Other notable grounds include:
  • McHale Park
    McHale Park
    McHale Park is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. It is the home of the Castlebar Mitchels and Mayo Gaelic football teams...

     in Castlebar
    Castlebar
    Castlebar is the county town of, and at the centre of, County Mayo in Ireland. It is Mayo's largest town by population. The town's population exploded in the late 1990s, increasing by one-third in just six years, though this massive growth has slowed down greatly in recent years...

    , the largest stadium in Connacht (and in the northern half of the country);
  • Pearse Stadium
    Pearse Stadium
    Pearse Stadium is the principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium, in County Galway, Ireland. The stadium opened on June 16, 1957, as 16,000 people came to watch Galway beat Tipperary in hurling, and Kerry in football, and to watch Bishop Michael Browne bless the facility.The stadium was opened...

     in Galway
    Galway
    Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

    , which has hosted International rules football
    International rules football
    International rules football is a team sport consisting of a hybrid of football codes, which was developed to facilitate international representative matches between Australian rules football players and Gaelic football players....

     series games;
  • Fitzgerald Stadium
    FitzGerald Stadium
    Fitzgerald Stadium is the principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Killarney, Ireland, and is the home championship venue for the Kerry senior football team....

     in Killarney: some Munster Finals are also held here;
  • Páirc Uí Rinn
    Páirc Uí Rinn
    Páirc Uí Rinn is a stadium in Cork owned by the Gaelic Athletic Association . It was formerly Flower Lodge, a soccer ground home to several Cork teams in the 20th century, named after a Big House on whose grounds it was built.-Flower Lodge:...

    , also in Cork, a former League of Ireland
    League of Ireland
    The League of Ireland is the national association football league of the Republic of Ireland. Founded in 1921, as a league of eight clubs, it has expanded over time into a two-tiered league of 22 clubs. It is currently split into the League of Ireland Premier Division and the League of Ireland...

     soccer ground.
  • Semple Stadium
    Semple Stadium
    Semple Stadium, located in Thurles, North Tipperary, Ireland, is the home of hurling for Tipperary GAA and for the province of Munster. It is the second largest stadium in Ireland with a capacity of 53,500....

     in Thurles
    Thurles
    Thurles is a town situated in North Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty and is also an ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly...

    , Tipperary, the largest GAA ground outside of Croke Park.
  • St. Jarlath's Park
    St. Jarlath's Park
    St. Jarlath's Park is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland. It is one of the principal stadia of Galway GAA's football and hurling teams. The ground has a capacity of 25,000.The official opening of the stadium took place on May 21st 1950...

    , (known as Tuam Stadium) in Galway
    Galway
    Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

     host to the most Connacht Finals.

Nationalism

The speed of the association's early growth was attributed to its role as part of the larger Gaelic cultural revival
Gaelic Revival
The Gaelic revival was the late-nineteenth-century national revival of interest in the Irish language and Irish Gaelic culture...

 which was closely associated with Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

. Michael Cusack, one of the leading founders of the GAA, stated that he wished to ‘nationalise and democratise sport in Ireland’ and to revive and promote Gaelic Ireland whilst discouraging anglicisation.

The GAA's nationalist aspect was further enhanced upon its creation with the appointment of Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

, and Michael Davitt, head of the Land League, to become patrons of the association, whilst the nationalist MP, William O'Brien, offered to provide space for weekly articles and notices within his newspaper, United Ireland. In its early years the association was infiltrated by the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

, whose members rose to prominent positions such as president and chairman, with them eventually gaining control of the associations central executive in 1887.

Divisions between constitutional and revolutionary nationalism came to the fore in the association and the politicisation of the GAA was reflected in the naming of clubs indicating support for either the Irish Parliamentary Party or the Fenians, for example: the Parnells, the Davitts, the Ballina Stephenites, and the Kickhams. However, IRB dominance within the GAA central executive came to an end on 4 January 1888, when they were outnumbered and ousted from the organisation, and saw them going underground.

Protestant and unionist alienation in Northern Ireland

The GAA’s nationalist ethos secured support amongst the Catholic and nationalist community, but also opposition within the Protestant and unionist community. In Northern Ireland, the sports are played almost exclusively by members of the mainly Catholic
Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic is a term used to describe people who are both Roman Catholic and Irish .Note: the term is not used to describe a variant of Catholicism. More particularly, it is not a separate creed or sect in the sense that "Anglo-Catholic", "Old Catholic", "Eastern Orthodox Catholic" might be...

 nationalist community. While the GAA's tendency towards overt nationalism has waned, some practices still remain in place which raise concerns in Northern Ireland where the Protestant unionist population still largely considers itself excluded from the games by a political ethos despite rules that prohibit sectarianism or involvement in party politics. The Irish tricolour
Flag of Ireland
The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green , white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. The flag proportion is 1:2...

 is flown at all GAA matches and Amhrán na bhFiann
Amhrán na bhFiann
is the national anthem of Ireland. The music was composed by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, and the original English lyrics were authored by Kearney. It is sung in the Irish language translation made by Liam Ó Rinn. The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only...

, the national anthem of the Republic, is played or sung at major fixtures. Some GAA grounds, clubs, competitions and trophies are named after nationalists or republicans, such as Sam Maguire
Sam Maguire
Samuel Maguire , an Irish republican and Gaelic footballer, is chiefly remembered as the eponym of the Sam Maguire Cup, given to the All-Ireland Senior Champions of Gaelic football.-Early life:...

, Seán Treacy
Seán Treacy (Irish Republican)
Seán Treacy was one of the leaders of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. He helped to start the conflict in 1919 and was killed in a shootout with British troops in Talbot Street, Dublin during an aborted British Secret Service...

, John Mitchel
John Mitchel
John Mitchel was an Irish nationalist activist, solicitor and political journalist. Born in Camnish, near Dungiven, County Londonderry, Ireland he became a leading member of both Young Ireland and the Irish Confederation...

, Theobald Wolfe Tone
Theobald Wolfe Tone
Theobald Wolfe Tone or Wolfe Tone , was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism. He was captured by British forces at Lough Swilly in Donegal and taken prisoner...

, and the hunger striker Kevin Lynch.

Suspected associations between GAA members and republicans
Irish Republicanism
Irish republicanism is an ideology based on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic.In 1801, under the Act of Union, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 are also said to have deepened mistrust. Two incidents of hunger strike commemorations on GAA grounds drew criticism from unionists, even though these events were not officially approved by the GAA. In response to one such incident, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion calling on the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to ensure that no sports club that facilitates a commemoration or glorification of terrorism receives financial support through his Department, either directly or indirectly. Other critics point out that the "parish rule" can appear to align the GAA with the Roman Catholic Church, and the former Rule 42
Rule 42
Rule 42 is a rule of the Gaelic Athletic Association which in practice prohibits the playing of non-Gaelic games in GAA stadiums. The rule is often mistakenly believed to prohibit foreign sports at GAA owned stadiums...

 was criticised for seeming to prohibit the use of GAA facilities for other sports perceived as British (and referred to by some as "garrison games") or
foreign sports. Many GAA members or supporters were killed by loyalist
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

 paramilitaries and British security forces during the Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

, and many clubhouses have been destroyed or damaged in bombings, arson and other attacks. As the profile of Gaelic football has been raised in Ulster so too has there been an increase in the number of sectarian attacks on Gaelic clubs in Northern Ireland.

Some of the protectionist rules are as follows:

Rule 42 ban on other sports in GAA grounds

Rule 42
Rule 42
Rule 42 is a rule of the Gaelic Athletic Association which in practice prohibits the playing of non-Gaelic games in GAA stadiums. The rule is often mistakenly believed to prohibit foreign sports at GAA owned stadiums...

 (Rule 5.1 in the 2009 rulebook) prohibits the use of GAA property for games with interests in conflict with the interests of the GAA referred to by some as "garrison games" or foreign sports. Current rules state that GAA property may only be used for the purpose or in connection with the playing of games controlled by the association. Sports not considered 'in conflict' with the GAA have been permitted.

On 16 April 2005 the GAA's congress voted to temporarily relax Rule 42 and allow international Soccer and Rugby to be played in the stadium while Lansdowne Road Football Ground was closed for redevelopment. The first soccer and rugby union games permitted in Croke Park took place in early 2007, the first such fixture being Ireland's
Ireland national rugby union team
The Ireland national rugby union team represents the island of Ireland in rugby union. The team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship and every four years in the Rugby World Cup, where they reached the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions The Ireland national rugby union...

 home match in the Six Nations Rugby Union Championship
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 against France
France national rugby union team
The France national rugby union team represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams...

.

In addition to the opening of Croke Park to competing sports, local GAA units have sought to rent their facilities out to other sports organisations for financial reasons in violation of Rule 42. The continued existence of Rule 42 has proven to be controversial since the management of Croke Park has been allowed to earn revenue by renting the facility out to competing sports organisations, but local GAA units which own smaller facilities cannot. It is also said that it is questionable as to whether or not such rental deals would actually be damaging to the GAA's interests.

The parish rule

Clubs, which are the basic unit of administration in the GAA, may have their catchment areas defined by the local Roman Catholic parish boundaries. A parish is defined as being, subject to county boundaries, "the district under the jurisdiction of a Parish Priest or Administrator." The purpose of the rule is to ensure that local teams are represented by local players, and to prevent players flocking to a more successful club outside of the local area. The rule was not part of the GAA's original rules and today it is applied in some counties and not in others.

The rule has become a topic of debate since changing demographics and settlement patterns in Ireland have meant that enforcement of the rule has caused problems for some clubs which face declining numbers and need to amalgamate with clubs in neighbouring parishes. A policy review in 2002 recommended that the rule be relaxed or replaced by county by-laws which can use more modern and relevant means of defining local communities.

Defunct rules

The GAA has had some notable rules in the past which have since been abolished.

Rule 21
Rule 21
Rule 21 of the Gaelic Athletic Association banned members of the British occupational forces and the former Royal Ulster Constabulary from participating in Gaelic games....

, instituted in 1897 when it was suspected that Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

 spies were trying to infiltrate the organization, prohibited members of the British forces from membership of the GAA, and prevented GAA members from attending social events with such people. Support for the ban remained throughout The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

, particularly in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 where GAA members were often targeted for harassment and abuse by the RUC
Royal Ulster Constabulary
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was the name of the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2000. Following the awarding of the George Cross in 2000, it was subsequently known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. It was founded on 1 June 1922 out of the Royal Irish Constabulary...

 and British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. Nonetheless, at a special congress convened in November 2001 the GAA voted by an overwhelming majority to change the rule and allow members of British security forces to play hurling and football.

Rule 27, sometimes referred to as The Ban, banned GAA members from taking part in or watching non Gaelic games. Punishment for violating this rule was expulsion for the organisation and it remained in place from 1901 until 1971. During that time people such as Douglas Hyde
Douglas Hyde
Douglas Hyde , known as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn , was an Irish scholar of the Irish language who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945...

, GAA patron and then President of Ireland, was expelled for attending a soccer international. In order to circumvent the ban members such as Moss Keane
Moss Keane
Maurice Ignatius "Moss" Keane was a rugby union footballer who played for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.-Life and career:...

 would commonly adopt a false name. The last person to be suspended from the GAA for violating Rule 27 was Liam Madden, an architect and member of Longford GAA
Longford GAA
The Longford County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association or Longford GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Longford...

 in 1969

Cross-community outreach in Ulster

The GAA points out the role of members of minority religions
Religion in Ireland
The island of Ireland is divided into two jurisdictions Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Religion in Ireland may refer to:* Religion in the Republic of Ireland* Religion in Northern Ireland* Christianity in Ireland...

 in the association throughout its history. For example the Protestant Jack Boothman
Jack Boothman
Jack Boothman was President of the Gaelic Athletic Association between 1994 and 1997. He was an active member of his local Blessington GAA club in County Wicklow.He was elected as president of the Association and took up the position in 1994...

 was president of the organisation from 1993 to 1997, while Sam Maguire was a Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 member. Nonetheless, to address concerns of unionists, the GAA's Ulster Council has embarked on a number of initiatives aimed at making the association and Gaelic games more accessible to northern Protestants. In November 2008 the council launched a Community Development Unit which is responsible for "Diversity and Community Outreach initiatives". The Cúchulainn Initiative is a cross-community program aimed at establishing teams consisting of Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren with no prior playing experience. Cross-community teams such as the Belfast Cuchulainn under-16 hurling team have been established and gone on to compete at the Continental Youth Championship
Continental Youth Championship
The Continental Youth Championship is an annual weekend tournament of gaelic football and hurling organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association. It is contested by teams from the USA and Canada, and is a separate competition from the existing youth championships in the New York, Canadian, and NACB...

 in America. Similar hurling and Gaelic football teams have since emerged in Armagh, Fermanagh, Limavady.

The ‘Game of three halves’ cross-community coaching initiative was established in predominantly Protestant east Belfast in 2006. Organised through Knock Presbyterian Church, this scheme brings GAA coaches to work alongside their soccer and rugby counterparts to involve primary school children at summer coaching camps. The Ulster Council is also establishing cross-community football and hurling teams in schools and is developing links with the Ulster-Scots Agency
Ulster-Scots Agency
The Ulster-Scots Agency is a cross-border body in Ireland which seeks "promote the study, conservation and development of Ulster-Scots as a living language; to encourage and develop the full range of its attendant culture; and to promote an understanding of the history of the Ulster-Scots...

 and the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

. The Council has also undertaken a series of meetings with political parties and community groups who would have traditionally have had no involvement in the GAA.

Other community outreach

In January 2011 President Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese
Mary Patricia McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson, making McAleese the world's first woman to succeed another as president. She was re-elected unopposed for a second term in...

 announced the launch of an island-wide project called the GAA Social Initiative. This aims to address the problem of isolation in rural areas where older people have limited engagement with the community. The initiative was later expanded by teaming up with the Irish Farmers Association to integrate that organisation's volunteers into the initiative.

Winter training ban

To address concerns about player burnout
Burnout (psychology)
Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. Research indicates general practitioners have the highest proportion of burnout cases; according to a recent Dutch study in Psychological Reports, no less than 40% of these experienced high levels of...

, the GAA adopted a rule in 2007 that prohibited collective training for inter-county players for a period of two months every winter. This has proven to be controversial in that it is difficult to enforce, and in the drive to stay competitive, managers have found ways to get around it such as organising informal 'athletic clubs' and other activities which they can use to work on the physical fitness of players without overtly appearing to be training specifically at Gaelic games.

See also

  • List of GAA Stadiums by Capacity
  • GAA All Stars Awards
    GAA All Stars Awards
    The All Stars Awards, currently sponsored by Vodafone, are given annually since 1971 by the Gaelic Athletic Association to the best player in each of the fifteen positions in Gaelic football and Hurling in Ireland. Additionally, one player in each code is selected as the player of the year...

  • Up for the Match
    Up for the Match
    Up for the Match is an Irish Gaelic games-themed variety show currently hosted by Des Cahill and Gráinne Seoige. The show is broadcast live in two editions each year on RTÉ One on the eve of the respective All-Ireland hurling and football finals...

  • Top 20 GAA Moments
    Top 20 GAA Moments
    Top 20 GAA Moments was a poll of the best moments of Gaelic football and hurling in the television era. In early 2005, the Irish public chose its favourite from 20 memorable moments from the last 40 years, as selected by ten RTÉ sports personalities and featured on the "Sunday Sport" programme...

  • Michael Cusack
    Michael Cusack
    Michael Cusack was an Irish teacher and founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association.-His Life:...

  • Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh
    Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
    Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh is an Irish Gaelic games commentator for the Irish national radio and television, RTÉ. In a career that has spanned six decades he has come to be regarded as the "voice of Gaelic games." His prolific career has earned him a place in Guinness World Records.-Early...

  • Micheál Ó Hehir
  • The Sunday Game
    The Sunday Game
    The Sunday Game is Raidió Teilifís Éireann's main Gaelic games television programme. It is shown on RTÉ Two every Sunday during the Football Championship and Hurling Championship seasons. It is one of RTÉ Two’s longest-running shows, having been on air since 1979, one year after the channel first...

  • Féile na nGael
    Féile na nGael
    Féile na nGael , Irish for "Festival of the Gaels") is an annual tournament comprising the sports of hurling, camogie and handball organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association...

  • Sport in Ireland
    Sport in Ireland
    In Ireland many sports, such as boxing, hockey, rowing, cricket, rugby union, Gaelic football and hurling, are organised in an all-island basis, with a single team representing the whole of Ireland in international competitions...


External links


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