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History of the Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is an amateur sporting organisation founded by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin to preserve and cultivate the national games. When it was founded in 1884, it had Davin as it's first president. Dr. T. W. Croke, (Archbishop of Cashel) became the first patron of the Association, and Croke Park in Dublin (the Association Headquarters) is named in his honour.
The Association was nationalist in outlook and members were banned from playing non-Gaelic games. The Association also banned members of British Crown Forces from membership, and this is a source of great controversy in modern-day Ireland. Foreign games are also banned from GAA stadiums. The GAA is the largest sporting organisation in Ireland, boasting 2,800 clubs comprising of 182,000 footballers and 97,000 hurlers. Membership of the GAA exceeds 800,000 at home and abroad ensuring its role as a powerful national movement with an important social and cultural influence in Irish life.

Gaelic football

Gaelic football is played by approximately 250,000 men and women, making it the most popular sport in Ireland. The first record of Gaelic football is in the Statutes of Galway (1527) which allowed the playing of football but banned hurling. The earliest reported match took place at Slane, Co. Meath in 1712 when Meath played their neighbours, Louth.
Capacity crowds attend the All-Ireland Football Final at Croke Park every September (the third Sunday of September). The winners of the Senior Final receive the Sam Maguire Cup. Since the first All-Ireland Senior football final in 1887, Kerry have been the most successful team, winning 30 times. Only Kerry (twice) and Wexford have won in four successive years. In the past four years, an Ulster team (Down, Donegal, Derry, Down) has won the Sam Maguire Cup, the first time a province has retained the championship for more than two consecutive years.

Facts

Hurling

Hurling is the oldest of Irish sports and dates from pre-Christian times. No standardised rules existed until the GAA was formed in 1884. It is the third most popular sport in Ireland (soccer is 2nd) and is played by approximately 100,000 Irish people. The women's equivalent of hurling is called camogie and is played according to the same basic rules, but with a smaller pitch and smaller sticks. There are 50,000 camogie players in Ireland.
Hurling is one of the fastest field games in the world, and is played with an ash stick between 30 and 37 inches in length, with a broad end. The stick is used to hit and carry the sliotar which is a small ball weighing about 4oz.
Since the first Senior Hurling Final in 1887, Cork have won the most times with 27 victories. The provinces of Leinster and Munster dominate the modern game - out of all of Connaught and Ulster, only Galway have managed to win the Hurling championship.

Facts



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