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Garda V Defence Forces (8121575528).jpg
Garda vs Defence Forces camogie match in 2012
Highest governing bodyCamogie Association
First playedIreland
Registered playersOver 100,000
Team members15 player per side,
substitutes are permitted
Mixed genderThere is a mixed gender/sex version of Camogie. Hurling is the male counterpart of Camogie
  • Sliotar (ball)
  • Hurley/camán (stick)
  • Helmet
  • Shin guards

Camogie (/kəˈmɡi/ kə-MOH-ghee; Irish: camógaíocht [kəˈmˠoːɡiːxt̪ˠ]) is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide, largely among Irish communities.[1][2]

A variant of the game of hurling (which is played by men only), it is organised by the Dublin-based Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta.[3][4] The annual All Ireland Camogie Championship has a record attendance of 33,154,[5] while average attendances in recent years are in the region of 15,000 to 18,000. The final is broadcast live, with a TV audience of as many as over 300,000 being claimed.[6]

UNESCO lists Camogie as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage.[7] The game is referenced in Waiting for Godot by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.

Game and rules[edit]

Goalposts and scoring system used in camogie

The game consists of two thirty-minute halves. There is a half-time interval of 10 minutes. In event of extra time, halves must consist of 10 minutes each. Each team has 15 players on the field. Within the 15 players the team must consist of one goalkeeper, three full back players, three half back players, two centre-field players, three half forward players and three full forward players. There is a minimum requirement of 12 players on the pitch at all times.[8] The rules are almost identical to hurling, with a few exceptions.[9]

  • Goalkeepers wear the same colours as outfield players. This is because no special rules apply to the goalkeeper and so there is no need for officials to differentiate between goalkeeper and outfielders.
  • A camogie player can hand pass any score from play (hand passing a goal is forbidden in hurling since 1980).
  • Camogie games last 60 minutes, two 30-minute halves (senior inter-county hurling games last 70, which is two 35-minute halves). Ties are resolved by multiple 2×10-minute sudden death extra time periods; in these, the first team to score wins.
  • Dropping the camogie stick to hand pass the ball is permitted.
  • A smaller sliotar (ball) is used in camogie – commonly known as a size 4 sliotar – whereas hurlers play with a size 5 sliotar.
  • If a defending player hits the sliotar wide, a 45-metre puck is awarded to the opposition (in hurling, it is a 65-metre puck).
  • After a score, the goalkeeper pucks out from the 13-metre line (in hurling, he must puck from the end line).
  • The metal band on the camogie stick must be covered with tape (not necessary in hurling).
  • Side-to-side charges are forbidden (permitted in hurling).
  • Two points are awarded for a score direct from a sideline cut (since March 2012).[10]
  • Players must wear skirts or skorts rather than shorts.

Partly due to these differences, some argue that Camogie lacks the physical drama found in hurling.[11] Under the original 1903 rules both the match and the field were shorter than their hurling equivalents. Matches were 40 minutes, increased to 50 minutes in 1934, and playing fields 125–130 yards (114–119 m) long and 65–70 yards (59–64 m) wide. From 1929 until 1979 a second crossbar, a "points bar" was also used, meaning that a point would not be allowed if it travelled over this bar, a somewhat contentious rule through the 75 years it was in use. Teams were regulated at 12 a side, using an elliptical formation, although it was more a "squeezed lemon" formation with the three midfield players grouped more closely together than their counterpart on the half back and half-forward lines. In 1999 camogie moved to the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) field-size and 15-a-side, adopting the standard GAA butterfly formation.

Field and equipment[edit]

The field is not of a fixed size, but must be 130 to 145 metres (142 to 159 yd) long by 80 to 90 metres (87 to 98 yd) wide.

Goals and scoring[edit]

H-shaped goals are used. A team achieves a score by making the ball go between the posts. If the ball goes over the bar for a "point", the team earns one point. If the ball goes under the bar for a "goal", the team earns three points.[12]



The name was invented by Tadhg Ua Donnchadha (Tórna) at meetings in 1903 in advance of the first matches in 1904.[13] It is derived from stick used in the game. Men play hurling using a curved stick called a camán in Irish. Women in the early camogie games used a shorter stick described by the diminutive form camóg. The suffix -aíocht (originally "uidheacht") was added to both words to give names for the sports: camánaíocht (which became iománaíocht) and camógaíocht. When the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884 the English-origin name "hurling" was given to the men's game. When an organisation for women was set up in 1904, it was decided to anglicise the Irish name camógaíocht to camogie.[1]

The experimental rules were drawn up for the female game by Máire Ní Chinnéide, Seán (Sceilg) Ó Ceallaigh, Tadhg Ó Donnchadha and Séamus Ó Braonáin. The Official Launch of Camogie took place with the first public match between Craobh an Chéitinnigh (Keatings branch of the Gaelic League) and Cúchulainns on 17 July at a Feis in Navan. The sport's governing body, the Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta was founded in 1905 and re-constituted in 1911, 1923 and 1939. Until June 2010 it was known as Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael.

Máire Ní Chinnéide and Cáit Ní Dhonnchadha, two prominent Irish-language enthusiasts and cultural nationalists, were credited with having created the sport, with the assistance of Ní Dhonnchadha's scholarly brother Tadhg Ó Donnchadha, who drew up its rules. Thus, although camogie was founded by women, and independently run (although closely linked to the GAA), there was, from the outset, a small yet powerful male presence within its administrative ranks. It was no surprise that camogie emanated from the Gaelic League, nor that it would be dependent upon the structures and networks provided by that organisation during the initial expansion of the sport. Of all the cultural nationalist organisations for adults that emerged during the fin de siècle, the Gaelic League was the only one to accept female and male members on an equal footing.[14]

A camogie team pictured in Waterford in October 1915


An Cumann Camógaíochta has a similar structure to the Gaelic Athletic Association, with an Annual Congress every spring which decides on policy and major issues such as rule changes, and an executive council, the Árd Chómhairle which deals with short-term issues and governance. The game is administered from a headquarters in Croke Park in Dublin. Each of 28 county boards takes control of its own affairs (all of the Irish counties except Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo), with the number of clubs ranging from 58 in Cork to one in Leitrim. There are four provincial councils and affiliates in Asia, Australia, Britain, Europe, New York, New Zealand and North America.


There are[when?] 539 camogie clubs, of which 513 are based on the island of Ireland, 47 in Connacht, 196 in Leinster, 160 in Munster, and 110 in Ulster.







All-Ireland Championship[edit]

The county is the unit of structure in elite competition, responsible for organising club competitions within the county unit and for fielding inter-county teams in the various grades of the All-Ireland championships and National Camogie League.

National League[edit]

The National League is staged during the winter-spring months, with four divisions of team graded by ability.

Provincial championships[edit]

Provincial championships take place at all levels, independent of the All Ireland series which has been run on an open draw basis since 1973.

International and inter-provincial[edit]

Ireland plays a camogie-shinty international against Scotland each year. The Gael Linn Cup is an inter-provincial competition played at senior and junior level. The sport is closely associated with the Celtic Congress. Two former Camogie Association presidents Máire Ní Chinnéide and Agnes O'Farrelly were also presidents of Celtic Congress and exhibition matches have been held at the Celtic Congress since 1938. The first such exhibition match, on the Isle of Man in 1938, marked the first appearance of Kathleen Cody, who became one of the stars of the 1940s.


The Ashbourne and Purcell Cups and Father Meachair seven-a-side are the principal inter-collegiate competitions.


There is also a programme of provincial and All Ireland championships at secondary schools senior and junior levels, differentiated by the years of secondary school cycle, with years 4–6 competing in the senior competition, and years 1–3 competing at junior level. Cumann na mBunscoil organises competitions at primary school level.

Féile na nGael[edit]

Camogie competitions for club teams featuring under-14 players are played in four divisions as part of the annual Féile na nGael festival. The county that is selected for a particular year, all their clubs host teams from all around the country representing their county. Host clubs get families to take in two or three children for a couple of days.


Cork have won the most Camogie All-Ireland titles with 28, the last being in 2018.

Cork have won the most National Camogie League titles with 16.


Camogie All Stars Awards are awarded annually to the elite players who have performed best in each of the 15 positions on a traditional camogie team. Player of the year and other achievement awards have also been awarded to leading players for several decades.

Team of the Century[edit]

Picked in 2004[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Moran, Mary (2011). A Game of Our Own: The History of Camogie. Dublin, Ireland: Cumann Camógaíochta. p. 460.
  2. ^ Arlott, John (1977). Oxford Companion to Sports and Games. London, England: Flamingo. p. 1024.
  3. ^ "The Camogie Association : About Camogie". Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b 2007 All Ireland final reports in Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Irish Times and Gorey Guardian Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). Illustrated History of the GAA. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & MacMillan. p. 250.
  7. ^ "Hurling - intangible heritage - Culture Sector - UNESCO". Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Rule Differences on website". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Ladies sticking with skirts as O'Flynn backs rules makeover -". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Tide is rising but we are only at the beginning of a whole new ball game". Sunday Independent. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020. You can't ... deny what you've seen, you can't pretend you don't notice the gulf in physical prowess. This applies across the board, internationally and domestically, where camogie and women's Gaelic football also suffer by comparison to the physical drama contained in the male versions.
  12. ^ "Rules of Camogie on website". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  13. ^ Puirséil, Pádraig (1984). Scéal na Camógaíochta. Dublin, Ireland: Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael. p. 64.
  14. ^ Ríona Nic Congáil “'Looking on for centuries from the side-line': Gaelic Feminism and the rise of Camogie", Éire-Ireland (Spring / Summer 2013): 168–192.Gaelic Feminism and the rise of Camogie
  15. ^ a b c Crowe, Dermot (8 September 2019). "Breaking new ground on final day as Kilkenny look to bury pain of defeat". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 8 September 2019. Recent finals have been without goals and scorelines have stayed relatively low compared to hurling. Ten points won the final two years ago. The winning total last year was 14 points. The majority of the scores in last year's final came from frees.
  16. ^ "Team of the century". Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2018.

External links[edit]