Gaelic football

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Gaelic football (Irish: Peil, Peil Ghaelach, or Caid), commonly referred to as "Football", "Gaelic", or "Gah"[1][2][3] is a form of football played mainly in Ireland. It is, together with hurling, one of the two most popular spectator sports in Ireland.[4]

Gaelic Football is played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by kicking or striking the ball with the hand and getting it through the goals. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. Players advance the ball up the field with a combination of carrying, soloing (dropping and then toe-kicking the ball upward into the hands), kicking, and hand-passing to their team-mates.

Statistics show the game drawing significantly more spectators than any other sport in Ireland recently; 2005 ESRI figures indicate that it draws 34% of total attendances at sports events in Ireland, with the closest rival, hurling drawing 23%.[5]

Football is one of four Gaelic games run by the Gaelic Athletic Association, the largest sporting organisation in Ireland with more than 800,000 members.[5] It has strict rules on player amateurism and the pinnacle of the sport is the inter-county All-Ireland Football Final. The game is believed to have descended from ancient Irish football known as caid which dates back to medieval times, although the modern rules were not set down until 1886.

Gaelic football is also played in countries outside of Ireland,[6] often although not solely played by members of the Irish diaspora. It is increasing in popularity internationally.[6] Teams from both London and New York compete in the annual All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the highest level of the game.

International rules football, a hybrid of Gaelic football and Australian rules football, facilitates matches between Gaelic footballers and Australian rules footballers. International rules is most prominently used for international representative matches between a teams representing Ireland and Australia.

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