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The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) headquarters are located at Croke Park in Dublin. Founded in Thurles, Co. Tipperary in 1884, it moved to the capitol in 1908. Redeveloped between 1993 and 2003, the stadium has a capacity of 82,300 and plays hosts to some of the high profile events in the Irish sporting and entertainment calendar. One of the finest stadiums in Europe and offers a great day out! The Association’s has 2,300+ clubs nationwide. While the association is regarded as amateur sports, the top club and county teams is played at a professional level.
A uniquely Irish game, Hurling is one of the world’s oldest field sports and has been played in some form in Ireland for more than 800 years.A curved wooden stick with a flat end is called a Hurl or Hurley and is made from a single piece of wood, traditionally Ash. The blade is flat on both sides while metal bands are used to stop the wood from splitting. The ball or sliothar is about the size of a baseball and is leather covered with raised ridges where the leather is stitched.
Hurling is an amateur game and is played by men, while the competitive female sport is called Camogie. Each team has 15 players and attempt to score on the opponent’s H-shaped goal. 1 point is scored if it goes over the crossbar and 3 points if you score into the net.
An extremely skillful and physical sport, the game’s speed and hand eye co-ordination comes from the ability required to catch and control the ball. When struck well, the sliothar can reach speeds up to 150km/hr. When played at the highest level Hurling is a beautiful and magnificent sport.
Gaelic football is a fast and exiting game. It is described as a mixture of soccer and rugby and has a distinct similarity to Australian Rules. The Championship game in which the winner gets to hoist the Sam Maguire is Ireland’s Grey Cup.
Slightly smaller than a soccer ball, it can be carried in the hand for a distance of four steps and can be kicked or hand-passed with a striking motion fist. Alternatively, after 4 steps the ball must be either bounced or "solo-ed", an action of dropping the ball onto the foot and kicking it back into the hand.
The game is played in 3,500 primary schools and this is where most players make their first contact with the game.