Gaelic Football is a field game which has developed as a distinct game similar to the progression of Australian Rules. Most people describe it as being a mixture of soccer and rugby when they see it for the first time. Gaelic Football is the most popular sport in Ireland by spectator numbers and is primarily played from Spring to Fall all over the world.

In the United States, Gaelic Football is played by teams of 13 on a rectangular grass field with H-shaped goals at each end. Most adult games in the United States are played over 60 minutes divided into two 30 minute halves. Teams are allowed a maximum of five substitutes in a game. The goal posts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch except there is a net similar to soccer goals beneath the crossbar. The goal is guarded by a goal keeper similar to soccer or hockey.

The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, 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”, a striking motion with the hand or fist. After every four 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. You may not bounce the ball twice in a row. Players advance the ball up the field with a combination of carrying, soloing, kicking and hand-passing to their team-mates.

To score, you must put the ball over the crossbar by foot or hand/fist for one “point” or under the crossbar and into the net by foot or the hand/fist in certain circumstances for a “goal”, the latter being the equivalent of three points. The team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.

Gaelic Football does not allow tackles similar to American Football or rugby however a shoulder to shoulder charge against your opponent is permitted. The defending player seeks to slap the ball from the hands of the offensive player or block down an attempted kick of the ball. In general the physical intensity of Gaelic Football would be considered to be greater than soccer while being somewhat less than rugby.

Please refer to the video below for a quick introduction or a more detailed explanation of the game here.