Introduction to Gaelic Sports
Gaelic sports are a group of games that are played under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). These sports include hurling, Gaelic handball, Gaelic football, and rounders. Of these, Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular and are the focus of this guide.
Gaelic football is a little like Aussie Rules, while hurling is a bit like hockey. These games are popular not only in Ireland but across the globe, with a very strong following among online gamblers and fans alike.
Betting on Gaelic football online is a burgeoning sector, as players add the game to their favourites. In fact, Gaelic sports betting, in general, has taken off online, with many sites offering odds on multiple games.
GAA Football Rules
Gaelic football is a game that has similarities to rugby, football, and Aussie rules. Not unlike the game of rugby, Gaelic Football is played on a rectangular field. At the ends of this field are two upright posts with a crossbar. Players attempt to get the ball through these posts to score. The team who scores the most points in a given time are considered to be the winners.
The field/pitch is larger than a rugby or football pitch, measuring 130 – 145 meters (140 – 160 yards) in length and 80 – 90 meters (90 – 100 yards) in width. The duration of the game is typically one hour, split into two 30 minute halves, with a short interval between them. Like rugby, there are 15 players on each side, and the ball is passed between players by kicking or hand-passing.
A hand-pass is performed by hitting the ball with the thumb part of a closed fist. A player may not advance five or more steps without passing, bouncing, or soloing (kicking to oneself) the ball.
The goals themselves are a combination of rugby and soccer, with an above-bar shot scoring a single point and a below-bar shot scoring three points. The below-bar has a net and is guarded by a goalkeeper, just like in soccer.
Above the bar, a player may either kick or pass the ball by punching it with a closed fist. Below the bar, only kicking is allowed. For the point, an umpire will raise a white flag, while a 3-point goal is indicated by a green flag.
Like many other team sports, the basic idea is to perform manoeuvres using the 15 players, allowing your side to progress towards the goal-line, and get in behind the opposition players where possible.
Hurling is something like a mix of field hockey, baseball, and rugby. One major difference is that it’s older, with the first definitive evidence of the game coming from around two thousand years ago. There are those who believe it dates back a full thousand years, even before that, making it by far the most ancient ball game still actively played in the world.
It’s played on the same-sized rectangular pitches as Gaelic football. On either end are the H-shaped goals, also as with Gaelic football or rugby. The aim is to convey the ball to the opposition goal and pass it between the upright posts.
The object of the game is to strike a small ball (called a sliotar) between the upright posts, either above or below the crossbar. The stick used to strike the ball is called a hurley and is made from ash wood.
The goalkeeper’s hurley has a larger rounded head than that of the other players. The sliotar is roughly the size of a baseball and is composed of a cork centre wrapped in leather. During gameplay, it’s not uncommon for the sliotar to travel at speeds approaching 160 km/h (100 mph), making hurling one of the fastest ball sports in the world.
As with Gaelic football, when the ball passes above the crossbar, a point is awarded, with the umpire raising a white flag. When the ball passes below the crossbar into the net, a goal is awarded by the umpire raising a green flag, indicating 3 points.
Again, just like with Gaelic football, a player may not advance more than four steps with the sliotar in hand but must pass the ball either by slapping it with an open hand, striking it with the hurley, or kicking it. The sliotar may not be thrown or picked up from the ground by hand but must either be kicked up by the foot or scooped up with the hurley.
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
At Beech Hill, Donnybrook, on the 29th of April 1888, the first finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championships were played. It’s been held annually since that year, without interruption.
At that first competition, the county games hadn’t been fully established yet, but they followed close by informally structuring the regional game shortly afterwards.
The 32 counties of Ireland arrange their own competitions through the County Board, which governs the games at that level. The 32 counties are split into 4 provincial divisions, just as they are with rugby. These are Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The competition has three sections; the All-Ireland Super 8’s, All-Ireland Semi-Finals, and the All-Ireland Finals.
In the Super 8’s, the winning teams from the provincial tournament join the winners of the All-Ireland qualifiers, making up 8 teams. The competition has a round-robin format, allowing each team to play all the other teams.
Given the popularity of the game, the gambling sector surrounding it has always been popular, especially now that many online sites offer live Gaelic football betting on nearly all of the games.
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship
Following the formation of the GAA, rules and regulations for both hurling and Gaelic football were formally established. With these in hand, the GAA ran the first All-Ireland Hurling Championship in 1887. Just as with the first football championship, the counties and provinces hadn’t quite been established yet, but they quickly formed into the competition we have today.
Out of the four provinces (Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster), 12 teams compete in the championship each year, with a format of quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals. Each team plays through the championship, and the winner is presented with a trophy after the final at Croke Park, in Dublin.
The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship has a lively Gaelic sports betting community, with sites offering tips and odds on a host of available bets. If you like to wager on live sports online, hurling might be for you.
National football league
Formed in 1925 – 1926, the National Football League is Ireland’s second most prestigious Gaelic football tournament. It includes all the Gaelic football teams of Ireland, with the addition of the London county football team, under the auspices of London GAA. The game is structured in three tiers; Senior League, Intermediate League, and Junior League.
These correspond to national, provincial, and county/district leagues. At first, the National Football League played their games during the winter months, and this proved to be a costly decision in terms of fan attendance at venues. However, they altered this, and now the games take place largely right before the All-Ireland Championship.
This means that the National League has tended to function as a warm-up for the more prestigious All-Ireland tournament, and it can be helpful to assess the relative performances of the players and teams ahead of the bigger event.
Where to Bet on Gaelic Sports
- High odds
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Whether hurling or Gaelic football is the thing for you, there are no shortages of choice if you want to place a little wager. In fact, there’s a huge selection.
Gaelic sports betting is really something for the player who likes action, and if you occasionally place a bet online, you should check out your options here. Frankly, all the major bookmakers offer GAA betting. They all have a piece of the action when it comes to Gaelic sports betting because they recognize the attention the sports can garner.
GAA Sports Facts and History
In 1884, in the billiards room of the Haye’s Hotel in Thurles (Co. Tipperary), a group of Irishmen met to establish an association to protect and foster Irish athletic games for future generations. By the end of their meeting, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) had been formed.
The GAA now governs the sports of hurling, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball, and rounders. These sports are very popular in Ireland itself, as well as throughout the wider world, garnering large crowds and viewing figures for the grounds and television networks involved.
Now the GAA can boast a fanbase in multiple countries, with the games themselves being played as far afield as North America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and even South Korea. Online, the interest is just as widespread, with many sites offering odds.
One of the best things about being a sports fan is the sheer number and variety of sporting games out there. Trying a new sport is like an adventure, and with the Gaelic football and hurling championships, the same thing is true. The Gaelic Athletic Association presides over some unique and historical sports and offers action-packed entertainment for anyone who likes the dynamism and speed of field sports.
If you’re into rugby, hockey, football, or any other similar sports, then you will find hurling and Gaelic football has something for you. They’re two of the fastest and most physical games around, and the results can turn on a dime, too.
How to bet on Gaelic football?
There are so many ways to play that it may take a while for you to get used to how it all works. A nice way to figure it out is to go simple by trying a 1×2 full-time bet.
Which are the most profitable Gaelic football bets?
Betting on the outsider is always a little riskier, but if you get to know the sport in detail, this can net some great wins for you.
Can I bet on games while they’re playing?
You definitely can, yes. There are many options available to bet in-play, which increases the excitement of the game as it moves along.
What exactly is spread betting?
Spread betting is a way of widening the margin on a bet so that your bet applies to a range of scores rather than one single result.
Do over/under bets work in Gaelic football?
Betting on things to happen more/less often than a given number is a popular betting form on Gaelic sports, including football.