Emerald’s Guide to Irish Sport

4 July 2010; Richie Power, Kilkenny, in action against Shane Kavanagh, Galway. Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Galway v Kilkenny, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

What is GAA?

GAA stands for Gaelic Athletic Association, which was founded in 1884 by Micheal Cusack. It was set up to promote Gaelic games such as Hurling, Camogie and Gaelic Football. The All-Ireland finals in both hurling and football take place during the summer months, so if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, you can experience the game for yourself! The quarter-finals are coming up soon, being held in Dublin this year. GAA will be part of Emerald Cultural Institutes’ junior summer programme, so the students will learn what the sports are and how to play them!



Hurling is a stick and ball game with fifteen players. The primary objective of the game is to score by driving the ball through the goals or putting the ball over the bar and scoring a point. 3 points are the equivalent of a goal.


Camogie is a natural extension of the men’s hurling community, for women. It’s very similar to hurling with a few minor changes in rules.

Gaelic Football

Gaelic Football is the most popular of the Gaelic games and has a huge Irish fanbase. The game is similar to Hurling in terms of objectives, but it’s played with a round ball and both hands and feet are used to control and pass the ball. The main objective of the game is to score by driving the ball through or over the goals. Players can gain a point if they get the ball over the bar of the goal. If they get the ball into the mouth of the goal, they will gain three points. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins.




Sliotar: A Sliotar is a hard leather ball used in Hurling.

Hurley: A Hurley is a stick, made of wood which is used in Hurling. It is used to strike the Sliotar.

Hurling helmet: A Hurling helmet is worn in Hurling to protect the skull from damage caused by the Sliotar or the Hurley.

Gaelic football: A Gaelic football is a white leather ball used in the game of Gaelic football. It can be kicked or hand-passed.

County jerseys


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