Gaelic football, played almost exclusively in Ireland, is perhaps the roughest of the football-type games. It is played by two teams of 15 men each on a field that measures 84 to 100 yd (76.81–91.44 m) in width and 140 to 160 yd (128.02–146.3 m) in length. The object of the game is to punch, dribble, or kick the ball into (3 points) or directly over (1 point) the rectangular goal-net. As with soccer and rugby, Gaelic football probably developed from the rough-and-tumble football games played in medieval England. Originally a sort of melee between as many as 200 representatives of rival parishes, the game was given a set of standard rules by Dan and Maurice Gavin, who founded (1884) the Gaelic Athletic Association after witnessing a particularly brutal game. The association sponsors the annual all-Ireland championship match, an elimination tournament for teams from Ireland's 32 counties.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.