Gaelic football has actually the same
origins that soccer and rugby. It was created in Ireland, a long time ago. By the time the English people was codifying
the rules of both soccer and rugby, the Irish one established rules of his own:
the rules of Gaelic Football. This was meant to draw the line
between Ireland and England. The sport spread almost exclusively
on the island anyway, unlike soccer and rugby which are today
practiced all trough the world. Yet, throughout the last decade Europe
began to adopt the Irish Game, especially in Brittany. Our teams are composed of 11 players
(instead of 15), positioned as soccer players:
keeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers. In this game, both foot and hand are used,
the latter being more involved: the players are allowed to make only four steps
while holding the ball, after which he must
dribble (or make a toe tap)… To pass the ball, one may not simply
throw it to another player: like in volleyball, you must hold
the ball in one hand and hit it with the other towards your teammate. The keeper remains in the goal. When the ball reaches the goal,
you either get 1pt or 3 depending on whether
it goes above or below the crossbar. It may seem simpler to say that Gaelic
football is a gathering of three sports
(soccer, rugby, basketball) into one. For my part, I try and explain it this way
because it helps people to understand
a complicated set of rules. Since you are allowed neither to touch nor to catch
the ball with your hands when it is on the ground, the only way you can get it back
(holding the ball being more convenient to play)
is by doing a “pick-up”: lift up the ball with your foot to your hands. That’s the pick-up, you can both resume
your advance on the field and keep the ball. At the end of the match, when the referee blows
his whistle, the players gather round in the midfield and listen to the referee’s comments
about the game, the way it was played, what went wrong and how to avoid those
mistakes during the matches to come. I’d say it’s a “healthy” sport
for there are neither tackles nor veneers, physical contact being limited to shoulder against
shoulder, hands on the ball in self-defense as well. We actually enjoy playing a game
where there’s no “offside” and where, as I said, physical contacts
are limited to “shoulder against shoulder”. Gaelic Football is both fun and dynamic! It’s a bit harder here than in Ireland
where boys and girls play separately. However, the number of girls playing
Gaelic football decreases, which prevents us to form feminine teams,
nor organize any competition. The girls who join us for training are allowed
to attend the Breton Championship. That’s why the tems are coed. Regarding the rules, girls don’t need to “pick-up”
the ball, which ease the game for us. We may simply use our hands to take
the ball when it’s on the ground, without using our feet. It seems easier to me… Besides, since there are also girls
in the teams here, boys may not push them or even touch them if I remember well… Yet, Gaelic football is still a “new” game around here. There will be feminine teams in Brittany someday, I guess. On April 28th, a feminine contest
will take place near Rennes. Subsequently, Breton and French teams will be liable to attend the North-West Europe Championship
taking place in Niort in the course of June. Many clubs have already taken part in European contests (such as Liffré, Guérande and St Malo)
in Maastricht and Budapest for instance. A few years ago, the ‘Rennais’
[Ar Gwazi Gouez] even won the Shield! Now each and every team is acquainted
to the others and everything’s fine. We’re glad to gather, face each other
on the field. We always enjoy ourselves!