Sport in The Republic of Ireland - Gaelic Football

Further information: Gaelic football

As well as being known as "football", the sport may be referred to as Gaelic football or Gaelic, if confusion might otherwise arise with soccer. Though it has existed for centuries in Ireland as Caid, Gaelic football was formally arranged into an organised playing code by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in the late nineteenth century. It is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of match attendance – in the senior football championship in the summer, attendance is upwards of 80,000 for the most prestigious fixtures.

The game is played at underage, minor (under 18), under 21 and adult levels. All players are amateur, although players at a high level may receive income from sources such as sponsorship and grants. Every Gaelic footballer plays for a local club or parish team, and the best are chosen for the inter-county sides. County players may be chosen to play in inter-provincial Railway Cup games or for the 'International Rules' team to face Australia. However, the main national competitions are the inter-county All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and National Football League, also known as the NFL.

A Gaelic football year starts with pre-season competitions and the NFL. In early summer, the Championship begins. Each of the four provinces has its own tournament, and teams which are knocked out must do well in the 'qualifiers' if they are to gain a spot along with the four Provincial Champions in the All-Ireland quarter-finals. The All-Ireland Senior Football final is traditionally held on the third Sunday in September. Kerry are football's most successful team, with 36 All-Ireland senior titles. There are many rivalries within the game in Ireland – an example is that between Dublin and Meath. Other notable teams include Cork and Kerry.

Read more about this topic:  Sport In The Republic Of Ireland

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