Glossary of Gaelic games terms
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Competitions usually have long names, so an abbreviation system is used:
- Leinster MHC: Leinster Minor Hurling Championship
- Dublin FL Div 2: Dublin Football League, Division 2
- Laois JBHC: Laois Junior "B" Hurling Championship
The term "GAA" is not normally used in competition names, particularly in GAA-only sports.
Other abbreviations include:
- ACL = All-County League, sometimes used in counties that also have regional leagues
- CLG = Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Irish for "Gaelic Athletic Association" or "Gaelic Athletic Club", e.g. CLG Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir
- CPG = Cumann Peil Gaelach, Irish for "Gaelic Football Club"
- GAA = Gaelic Athletic Association
- GAC = Gaelic Athletic Club, e.g. Caltra GAC
- GF = Gaelic football
- GFC = Gaelic Football Club, e.g. St Grellan's GFC
- GH = Gaelic handball
- HC = Hurling Club
- IAHA = Irish Amateur Handball Association
- ICHA = Irish Collegiate Handball Association
- LGFC = Ladies' Gaelic Football Club
- Pk = Park
- A chara: Irish meaning literally "Dear friend". Often used to start official communications, even in English.
- Alley: the court in Gaelic handball, often measuring 12.2 m by 6.1 m (40 feet by 20 feet)
- All-Ireland: Adjective describing a competition, such as the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, run by the GAA and whose winners become national champions at the grade of that competition. The All-Ireland can refer to an already mentioned All-Ireland championship; more generally it can refer to the All-Ireland Senior Football or Hurling Championship.
- All Star: An annual award, one of which is given to the best player in each of the fifteen positions in Gaelic football, hurling, ladies' football, and camogie.
- Áras: Irish, meaning a sports centre, or club (i.e. building)
- Bainisteoir: Irish word meaning manager.
- Backdoor: Adjective describing a "knockout" championship in which defeated teams are not immediately eliminated from the competition, and remain eligible to win (e.g. Offaly in the 1998 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship). Such teams are said to re-enter the championship through the back door.
- Barracks games: (derogatory) nickname for "foreign sports" (see below) from their supposed connection with the British military. Also "the barracks" as in "go to the barracks" (i.e. watch one of the foreign sports)
- Bas: The flattened, curved end head of a hurley, or camán.
- Big Alley: the 60x30 foot court, the indigenous handball alley.
- Black card: Card shown to a player who has committed a "cynical" foul. The player is sent off. Each team is allowed to replace the first three players to receive black cards unless the player has previously received a yellow card.
- Block: where one player attempts to smother an opposing player's strike by trapping the ball between his hurley and the opponent's swinging hurley;
- Book: See tick. Where the referee notes the name of a player by displaying their note book as they would a red or yellow card.
- Caid: Another name for Gaelic football, usually referring to precodified varieties in the south west of Ireland.
- Camán: Hurley or hurling stick.
- Camóg: Hurley or stick as used in camogie. Shorter than male hurley.
- Camogie (camógaíocht): Women's hurling. A GAA coinage, from the Irish.
- Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC): Committee which organises fixtures for competitions above provincial level.
- Cic Fada: A competition for Gaelic footballers based on accuracy of long kicking.
- Club: the basic organisational unit of the GAA, at least one of which exists in most parishes throughout Ireland. Clubs are commonly named after either the home district, or a saint or national hero associated with that district. If the club fields teams only in Gaelic football, that name is followed by GFC (Gaelic Football Club); for hurling-only clubs it is HC (Hurling Club), but for clubs involved in two or more Gaelic sports the usual term is GAC (Gaelic Athletic Club). All clubs are controlled by locally-elected volunteer committees.
- Cluiche corr: rounders, the one Gaelic game widely adopted outside Ireland.
- An Coiste Náisiunta: The National Executive.
- Comhairle Cluiche Corr na hÉireann: Rounders Council of Ireland
- An Comhdháil Náisiúnta: The National Council
- Compromise rules/Composite rules: Games held between hurlers, and shinty players under modified rules. Not to be confused with "international rules".
- Corner back: Players who stand on either side of the full back, and who are defenders.
- County: a geographic region within the GAA, controlled by a County Board (sometimes called County Committee). In Ireland, there are 32 GAA counties, corresponding closely to the boundaries of counties currently or formerly used for administrative purposes (but not the newer administrative counties in the Republic). However GAA counties sometimes admit into their competitions clubs from neighbouring administrative counties, so that the GAA county boundaries are more fluid than those used for government purposes. Most GAA county names in Ireland are shared with current or former administrative counties, the sole exception at present being County Derry (the largely coterminous administrative county, abolished in 1973, was County Londonderry). Outside Ireland, for GAA purposes "county" often refers to places which are not otherwise termed counties, e.g. entire countries such as Scotland or American states such as New York. Many county boards have subsidiary boards or committees for different regions within the GAA county.
- County colours: the colours of the kit worn by that county's representative team in the inter-county competitions of the GAA.
- County championship: A championship in football or hurling in a specific grade contested by clubs within a county.
- Croke Park (colloquially Croker): The principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association.
- Cúige: Irish for a province, plural cúigí.
- Cumann: Irish for club, society or association, can be found in various compounds.
- Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael: Irish for Camogie Association of Ireland
- Cumann Lúthchleas Gael: the Irish language name of the Gaelic Athletic Association as a whole; also means "Gaelic Athletic Club".
- Cumann na mBunscol: the voluntary organisation of primary school teachers who coach GAA.
- Cumann Peil Gael na mBan: Ladies' Gaelic Football Association
- The Double: when a county wins the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in the same year. It is very uncommon.
- Dual county: a GAA county which plays both football and hurling at a similar level. Most counties specialise in one sport or the other.
- Dual player: Someone who plays both football and hurling at a high level.
- End line: The two shorter sides - the ends - of a football or hurling pitch, at the centre of which the goalposts are situated.
- Féile na nGael: literally "Festival of the Gaels", an annual tournament comprising the sports of hurling, camogie and handball.
- Féile Peile na nÓg: literally Festival of Youth Football, national festival of football for boys and girls under 14 years of age and is based on the GAA club unit.
- Fetch: To catch the ball above ones head.
- Football: Always Gaelic football. Association football is referred to as "soccer" - see foreign sports.
- Foreign sports: Non-Gaelic games such as rugby union, rugby league, soccer and cricket, particularly in the sense that they rivalled Gaelic games in Ireland for popularity during the formative years of the GAA.
- Forty-five: Kick awarded in football to the attacking side 45 metres from the defending side's goal when a player for the defending side last touches the ball before it goes over that side's end line. Formerly known as a fifty (45 metres is roughly equivalent to 50 yards).
- 40x20: The international code of handball, introduced from the USA.
- Four Codes: the four types of handball administered by the GAA, aka 40x20, 60x30, One Wall and Hardball.
- Free or Free-in: normal means of restarting play by the non-offending team after a foul.
- Full Back: no 3. a very important defender.
- Gaelic games: The sports of Gaelic handball, Gaelic football, hurling/camogie and rounders.
- Goal: A score in football and hurling worth three points, awarded when the ball legally crosses the goal line under the bar and between the posts.
- Goalkeeper: No. 1, player in football and hurling whose job it is to prevent goals being scored.
- Grade: A level at which a game or competition is played, based on age (e.g., Senior, Minor), ability (e.g. Senior, Junior), gender, etc. See Senior, Under-21 and Minor. A grade can also be split further, e.g. Senior A, Senior B.
- Hand-pass: In hurling, football and camogie, when a ball is slapped with the palm of the hand, rather than throwing (which is illegal). Hand-passing may not be used to score goals, but may be used to score points.
- Hardball: the most ancient form of handball. It is also the fastest of the Four Codes.
- Headquarters/HQ: Colloquial term for Croke Park also known as "Croker".
- Home final: In competitions in which an overseas team gets a bye to the final, a final played between two teams from the island of Ireland. The winning team then plays the overseas team in the final proper. For example, the 1908 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship saw Dublin beat Kerry in the home final, before becoming All-Ireland champions by beating London in the actual final, which was London's only game in that year's championship.
- Hook: where a player approaches another player from a rear angle and attempts to catch the opponent's hurley with his own at the top of the swing.
- Hurley: The stick or bat used in hurling.
- Intermediate: A grade, higher than junior, of competition for players not quite good enough to play at senior level. Some championships have senior and junior, but no intermediate, equivalents, for example the All-Ireland Football Championships.
- Inter county: Inter county, sometimes inter-county is Gaelic Athletic Association terminology which refers to competitions or matches between two GAA counties. The term can also be used to describe the players on the teams.
- International rules: Games played between Gaelic footballers, and Australian rules footballers under modified rules. Not to be confused with "compromise rules".
- Intervarsity: portmanteau of "Inter-university".
- Irish experiment: an attempt by the Australian Football League to get Gaelic footballers to play Australian Rules Football professionally in Australia.
- Irish handball: another name for Gaelic handball
- Irish Handball Union or IHU: the non GAA handball body.
- Junior: A grade of competition for players not quite good enough to play at senior level, or at intermediate level where the three levels exist.
- Kick Fada/Cic Fada: A competition for Gaelic footballers.
- Liathróid: Irish word for football, or handball, i.e. the ball itself. See also peil (below). A hurling ball is a sliotar.
- Liathróid láimhe: Irish for Gaelic handball
- Minor: A grade for players under 18; also, a player who qualifies to play in the minor grade.
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- Official Guide (Treoraí Oifigiúil): The playing and organisational rules of the GAA. Part 1 contains the Association's constitution and rules, while Part 2 contains the playing rules of hurling and football.
- One Wall: the most basic form of handball.
- Overhand stroke: A stroke in handball, similar to pitching in baseball.
- Overseas unit: GAA bodies outside Ireland
- Panel: The Gaelic games equivalent of a squad.
- Páirc: related to the English word "park", this Irish language appears in the names of some sports grounds, e.g. Páirc Esler and Páirc Tailteann
- Páirc an Chrócaigh: Irish for Croke Park.
- Park: (see also) Páirc, a common element in the names of GAA grounds.
- Peil: Irish word for football, i.e. the game of Gaelic football. See also liathróid (above).
- Peil Ghaelach na mBan: Ladies' Gaelic football
- Poc Fada: A competition for hurlers.
- Point: A score in football and hurling, awarded when the ball legally passes over the bar, between the posts. See also goal (above).
- Pre-shoot position: In handball, this is a position six foot deeper into the court than where the ball was contacted.
- Province: run by a Provincial council, these are collections of counties. They correspond to the provinces of Ireland with the addition of Britain. Provincial championships are the next level below All-Ireland.
- Puck, puckout:
- Red card: Card shown to a player who has been sent off for committing a serious foul, or who has been shown two yellow cards or a yellow card followed by a black card.
- Right Corner Back: no. 2, a defender.
- Rule 21: A former rule in the GAA's Official Guide which forbade members of the British military or RUC from participation; abolished in 2001.
- Rule 27: A former rule in the GAA's Official Guide which forbade members from playing or attending foreign sports; abolished in 1971.
- Rule 42: A rule in the GAA's Official Guide which prevents foreign sports being played on GAA-controlled property. See List of non-Gaelic games played in Croke Park for exceptions to this rule (as from 2005).
- Sam: The Sam Maguire Cup, awarded to the winning team in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
- Scór: a division of the GAA charged with promotion of cultural activities, and the name of a series of annual competitions in such activities.
- Selector: A person who helps pick a team. Usually a team has two of these, as well as a manager.
- Senior: The highest grade which a player can play at, not limited by age or ability.
- Shinty-hurling: composite rules
- Shot anticipation: in handball, this is where you work out where the ball will bounce back to.
- Sidearm stroke: A stroke in handball, where the ball is hit from around waist level.
- Sideline: The two longer sides of a football or hurling pitch.
- Sideline ball: A kick (football) or puck (hurling) awarded when the ball passes over the sideline. It is awarded to the opposite team to that of the player who last touched the ball.
- Sidepull/Side-pull: where two players running together for the sliotar will collide at the shoulders and swing together to win the tackle and "pull" (name given to swing the hurley) with extreme force.
- Sixty-five: Puck awarded in hurling to the attacking side 65 metres from the defending side's goal when a player for the defending side last touches the ball before it goes over that side's end line. Formerly known as a seventy (65 metres is roughly equivalent to 70 yards).
- Sliotar: the hard leather ball used in hurling; slightly larger than a tennis ball, it has a cork core and a stitched rib. A football or handball is known as liathróid.
- 60x30: the "Big Alley" court form of handball indigenous to Ireland.
- Square: usually "the square", the small rectangle surrounding the goal in hurling, camogie and football.
- Square ball: A type of foul in hurling and football which occurs when a player on the attacking team enters the opposing team's small square inside the penalty area before the ball does.
- Stroke: a method of hitting the ball with the hand in handball.
- The Sunday Game: RTÉ's main Gaelic games television programme, on air since 1979.
- Tailteann Games: Ancient multisport competition killed off by Norman invasion. The GAA attempted a revival in the 1920s.
- Throw-in: the starting of a game, or restarting after half-time, by the referee throwing the ball between two players from each team.
- Tick: a mark made by the referee in his notebook against a player who has committed a certain type of foul, but not so serious as to warrant a yellow card (see below). The referee indicates when a player is ticked by holding his notebook above his head. If a player who is ticked in a match commits a second similar foul he is shown a yellow card.
- Treoraí Oifigiúil: Official Guide.
- Umpire: One of four officials in a game of football or hurling, identifiable by his/her white coat, and whose responsibilities include to signal a point by waving a white flag, to signal a goal by waving a green flag, to indicate which side last touched the ball before it crossed the end-line, and to alert the referee to certain foul play.
- Underhand stroke: A stroke in handball, where the hand hits the ball from below the waist.
- Under-21: A grade of competition for players under 21 years of age.
- Up for the Match: RTÉ One programme shown broadcast twice a year on the eve of the All-Ireland hurling and All-Ireland football finals respectively.
- Weak hand: In handball, this is the left hand for right-handed people (and right for left-handers). It is often exploited by opponents.
- Wide: When the ball passes over the end line having last been touched by a player on the attacking side. The defending side is awarded a kickout (football) or puckout (hurling).
- Yellow card: Card shown to a player who has been cautioned ("booked") for committing certain types of fouls, or who has been ticked twice (see Tick above). A played who is cautioned twice in a match (either two yellows or a yellow followed by a black) is shown a red card, sent of and cannot be replaced.