Gaelic Football has been played since the 16th Century using a heavy, round leather ball with horizontal stiching. The ball can be kicked or hand passed - not thrown - between players as they make their way up the field to try and score. If the ball is caught it can be carried for four steps before players have to kick it off their foot or bounce it. If bounce twice in a row, the player is penalised.
The game is played between two teams of 15 players. Players can be sent off for foul play and a substitute can't replace them, thus leaving their team one man short. Each team defends a goal and tries to score against the opposing team through their goalposts.
Each team has a goalkeeper, two corner backs, a full back, three half backs, two mid fielders, three half forwards, two corner forwards and a full forward. Up to five subs can also be used.
In order to get the ball from the other team, players must intercept it when passed or kicked, or tackle their opponent using a shoulder to tackle or slapping the ball out of their opponents hands.
Once a goal or point has been scored, or a shot at goal has gone wide, the goalkeeper restarts the game by kicking the ball up the field. If the ball bounces off a defender and goes out of play along the line that the goalposts are on, the attacking team get a 45 - ie they get to kick the ball from the ground 45m out from where the ball crossed the line into touch.
If during play the ball goes out of play and crosses the line either side of the pitch, the team that touched the ball last lose possession. If a player commits a foul then the other team gets a free kick from the spot where the foul took place. If the foul takes place in the large rectangle then a penalty kick is awarded. Only the goalkeeper can defend this.
If it is not clear who tackled first, the referee can restart the game by throwing the ball in – as he would do at the start of the match. Now that you are a bona fide GAA exponent, all that remains is for you to enoy the matches.
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