Gaelic Football - Leagues and Team Structure

Leagues and Team Structure

All Gaelic sports are amateur; easing the strictness with which this is interpreted is advocated by the Gaelic Players Association. The basic unit of each game is organised at the club level, which is usually arranged on a parish basis, with various local clubs playing to win the County Championship at various levels:

Levels
Name Description
Senior the better adult teams
Intermediate teams between Senior and Junior levels
Junior weaker adult teams, often from smaller communities
Under-21 under 21
Minor under 18
Under-age all ages from under-17 down to under-6

A club may have more than one team, for example one competing at Senior level and a 'seconds' team in a lower division.

At the national level, the GAA in Ireland is organised in 32 GAA counties most of which are identical in name and extent to the 32 administrative counties on which local government throughout the island was based until the late 20th century. The term 'county' is also used for some overseas GAA areas such as London and New York. There are also clubs in other parts of the USA, Britain, Asia, Australasia, continental Europe and Canada.

Though Ireland was partitioned between two states in 1920, Gaelic sports (like most cultural organisations and all religions) continue to be organised on an All-Ireland basis.

A county panel - a team of 15 players, plus a similar number of substitutes - is formed from the best players playing at club level.

Nearly all counties play against each other in a knock-out tournament known as the All Ireland Championship. These modified knock-out games start as provincial championships for the four Irish provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht.

In the past, the team winning each provincial championship would play one of the others, at a stage known as the All-Ireland semi-finals, with the winning team from each game playing each other in the All-Ireland Final.

A recent re-organisation now provides a 'back door' method of qualifying, with knocked out teams getting another chance to win back into the competition. This means that one team may defeat another team in an early stage of the championship, yet be defeated and knocked out of the tournament by the same team at a later stage.

County teams also compete in the National Football League, held every spring and grouping counties in for Divisions according to their relative strength. The League is not as prestigious as the All-Ireland, but in recent years attendances have grown, as has interest from the public and from players. This is due in part to the adoption in 2002 of the February–April timetable, in place of the former November start, and the provision of Division 2 final stages. Live matches are shown on the Irish-language TV station TG4 and on Setanta Ireland, with highlights shown on RTÉ2.

Read more about this topic:  Gaelic Football

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... various levels Levels Name Description Senior the better adult teams Intermediate teams between Senior and Junior levels Junior weaker adult teams, often from smaller ... A county panel - a team of 15 players, plus a similar number of substitutes - is formed from the best players playing at club level ... In the past, the team winning each provincial championship would play one of the others, at a stage known as the All-Ireland semi-finals, with the ...

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