It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish, partially Irish, or have barely even heard of Ireland, the Gaelic Athletic Association is fascination. We’re here to serve you up lots of GAA trivia so you can get up to speed on the Emerald Isle’s obsession.
GAA trivia in history
It all started in 1884
If you want to know GAA trivia, you have to know when and where the GAA was formed. On 1 November, 1884 in the Hayes’ Hotel Billiard Room in Thurles, County Tipperary, the Gaelic Athletic Association was born.
Sports and politics
The GAA and politics are historically very closely linked. The GAA is closely associated with republicanism on the island of Ireland.
As the GAA was seen as a breeding ground for republican activism, British spies tried to infiltrate the organisation. From 1897, the GAA brought in Rule 21. This banned members from becoming members until 2001.
One of the most dramatic and tragic links to the GAA and politics is Bloody Sunday. In 1920, British forces opened fire on spectators and players in Croke Park during a Gaelic football match. It was in retaliation to the assassination of several British Army officers earlier in the day. Witnesses and the Irish public saw this as an excessive response. Almost instantly, public opinion turned even further against the British authorities.
The tense atmosphere between loyalists and nationalists continued for decades. In fact, during the Troubles (from the 1960s until the 1990s), GAA grounds in Northern Ireland were a target for loyalist paramilitary attacks.
The GAA’s relationship with other sports
The GAA when it was founded was quite a protectionist organisation, going to some lengths to try to ensure it was the only game in town. Some of the old rules often crop up in GAA trivia.
For example, from 1901, Rule 27 dictated that GAA members couldn’t take part in or even watch non-GAA sports (mainly British sports like soccer, cricket and rugby). However, this was abolished in 1971.
Another controversial rule in the GAA is Rule 42, which bars non-GAA sports from being played on GAA grounds.
However, in 2005, this rule was temporarily relaxed so that certain international soccer and rugby games could be played in Croke Park. In 2007, Ireland took on France in the stadium in a Six Nations Rugby Union Championship game, marking the first time a non-GAA game was played in Croke Park.
GAA trivia in the modern day
Five Irish sports under one roof
An absolutely crucial piece of GAA trivia is that the GAA is all about promoting indigenous Irish games. This currently includes hurling, camogie (which is essential the female version of hurling), Gaelic football, Gaelic handball and rounders.
GAA trivia isn’t just about sports
Another part of the GAA’s remit is to promote other Irish cultural touchpoints, including music, dance and the Irish language.
500,000 worldwide members
Stretching far beyond Ireland, there are 500,000 members of the GAA in countries all around the world.
Gripping matches attended by 1.5 million people
The GAA never takes second fiddle to so-called foreign sports popular in countries outside of Ireland, like the NFL or cricket. Instead, people flock to stadiums to see their local and county teams play in huge numbers. Some 1.5 million people can be expected in stadiums from May to September each year.
The hurling and football finals in September are played out on a pitch in Dublin’s Croke Park 82,300-seater stadium. It’s one of the most modern stadiums in Europe; not bad for an amature sport.
Every single year these finals sell out and tickets to attend are highly, highly coveted by those throughout the country. Especially if you’re county is in the final.
2,200 GAA clubs in Ireland
Currently, there are more than 2,200 GAA clubs throughout Ireland. Making it easy to join wherever you are. This is truly a sporting association that tries to open its doors to everyone.
Almost all GAA clubs have their own grounds, and several stadiums accomodate more tens of thousands of spectators. Some of the biggest stadiums outside Croke Park include Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium, with a 43,180 capacity, MacHale Park in Castlebar with 42,000 capacity and Clones’ St Tiernach’s Park where 36,000 people can cheer on their teams.
400 clubs worldwide
But it doesn’t stop there. GAA trivia fans should know that you can find 400 clubs all over the world. GAA is well established in the US, Australia, Europe, China, Britain, Canada and in plenty of other countries too.
Where can you bet on the GAA online?
If you’re interested in the GAA, the good news is you can place a few bets if you fancy too. A great place to find GAA online betting options is bet365. They’ve got a brilliant range of GAA markets and competitive odds. On top of that, you can use this bet365 bonus code to get a fantastic welcome offer.