Gaelic Athletic Association county

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A Gaelic Athletic Association county is a geographic region within the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), controlled by a county board and originally based on the 32 counties of Ireland as they were in 1884. While the administrative geography of Ireland has since changed, with several new counties created and the six that make up Northern Ireland superseded by 11 local government districts, the GAA counties have remained largely unchanged.

However, the GAA county does not always and everywhere cover precisely the same territory as the traditional county. Particularly in the first 50 years of the Association but also in more recent times, there are many examples of clubs based in one of the administrative counties being allowed to participate in the leagues or championships of a neighbouring county. There are also instances where the official county boundary does not coincide precisely with the GAA county, for example where a club is based on a parish that crosses the county border. While in most cases the name of the GAA county is the same as that of the current or former administrative county, there have been exceptions: Derry has never used the official county name of Londonderry, and the Board of the county then officially known as Queen's County changed its name in 1907 to Leix and Ossary, later becoming Laois. Each county board is responsible for organising GAA club fixtures within the county, and for the promotion and development of Gaelic games and the other objectives of the Association.

The GAA county can also refer to the inter-county teams fielded by each county board. While in general any GAA county, and only a county, is eligible to compete in the provincial and national championships and leagues, and almost all do so, again there can be anomalies: in the National Hurling League, for example, a team representing Fingal - a sub-region of the GAA county of Dublin, corresponding to the modern administrative county of Fingal - competes against GAA counties.

Since the inception of the county system, there have been changes to the respective regions of control of the overseas units. In Ireland the concept of the county is very strong and changing the county boundary is extremely controversial. In 2002 a proposal to divide Dublin in two was quickly and strongly opposed.[1]

County teams[edit]

Counties contesting the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship (light colours), All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (dark colours), or both (other colours); however, almost all counties contest both the National Football League and the National Hurling League.
Coat of
GAA County Irish name[2] Province GAA Flag Colours

The 32 "traditional" counties

Antrim Aontroim
(Contae Aontroma)
Ulster Colours of Antrim.svg
Armagh Ard Mhacha
(Contae Ard Mhacha)
Ulster Colours of Armagh.svg
Carlow County Crest.svg Carlow Ceatharlach
(Contae Cheatharlach)
Leinster Colours of Carlow.svg
Cavan An Cabhán
(Contae an Chabháin)
Ulster Colours of Laois.svg
County Clare Crest.svg Clare An Clár
(Contae an Chláir)
Munster Colours of Clare.svg
Cork county arms.png Cork Corcaigh
(Contae Chorcaí)
Munster Colours of Cork.svg
Lderry arms.svg Derry[3] Doire
(Contae Dhoire)
Ulster Colours of Cork.svg
Donegalcocologo.png Donegal Dún na nGall
(Contae Dhún na nGall)
Ulster Colours of Leitrim.svg
Down arms.png Down An Dún
(Contae an Dúin)
Ulster Colours of Down.svg
Dublin crest.svg Dublin Áth Cliath
(Contae Átha Cliath)
Leinster Colours of Dublin.svg
Ferm arms.png Fermanagh Fear Manach
(Contae Fhear Manach)
Ulster Colours of Leinster Council.svg
Logogalwayco.png Galway Gaillimh
(Contae na Gaillimhe)
Connacht   Colours of Galway.svg
Kerrycocologo.svg Kerry Ciarraí
(Contae Chiarraí)
Munster Colours of Leitrim.svg
Kildare couty arms.png Kildare Cill Dara
(Contae Chill Dara)
Leinster Colours of Kildare.svg
County Kilkenny arms.svg Kilkenny Cill Chainnigh
(Contae Chill Chainnigh)
Leinster Colours of Kilkenny.svg
Laoiscocologo.png Laois Laois
(Contae Laoise)
Leinster Colours of Laois.svg
County Leitrim arms.svg Leitrim Liatroim
(Contae Liatroma)
Connacht Colours of Leitrim.svg
Limerick county arms.png Limerick Luimneach
(Contae Luimnigh)
Munster Colours of Leinster Council.svg
Longford county arms.png Longford An Longfort
(Contae an Longfoirt)
Leinster Colours of Roscommon.svg
Louth county arms.png Louth
(Contae Lú)
Leinster Colours of Cork.svg
COA of County Mayo.png Mayo Maigh Eo
(Contae Mhaigh Eo)
Connacht Colours of Mayo.svg
Meath coa.svg Meath An Mhí
(Contae na Mí)
Leinster Colours of Leitrim.svg
Monaghan county arms.png Monaghan Muineachán
(Contae Mhuineacháin)
Ulster Colours of Laois.svg
Offaly crest.svg Offaly Uíbh Fhailí
(Contae Uíbh Fhailí)
Leinster Colours of Offaly.svg
Logo-contea-Roscommon.png Roscommon Ros Comáin
(Contae Ros Comáin)
Connacht Colours of Roscommon.svg
Sligococo.png Sligo Sligeach
(Contae Shligigh)
Connacht Colours of Sligo.svg
IRL county Tipperary COA.png Tipperary Tiobraid Árann
(Contae Thiobraid Árann)
Munster Colours of Roscommon.svg
Tyrone arms.svg Tyrone Tír Eoghain
(Contae Thír Eoghain)
Ulster Colours of Tyrone.svg
Waterford county arms.png Waterford Port Láirge
(Contae Phort Láirge)
Munster Colours of Monaghan.svg
Westmeath coo coat of arms.PNG Westmeath An Iarmhí
(Contae na hIarmhí)
Leinster Colours of Galway.svg
IRL COA County Wexford 3D.svg Wexford Loch Garman
(Contae Loch Garman)
Leinster Colours of Wexford.svg
Wicklow county arms.png Wicklow Cill Mhantáin
(Contae Chill Mhantáin)
Leinster Colours of Roscommon.svg

Gaelic Athletic Association 'counties' overseas[edit]

Gaelic Athletic Association counties outside Ireland cover large geographic non-traditional areas which are not considered as counties in any other context. For example, Scotland is a county for GAA purposes, as is London, while the remaining counties of Great Britain cover wider areas than their names suggest. The Hertfordshire County Board, for example, oversees clubs in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire; Gloucestershire GAA reaches into South Wales, Warwickshire GAA includes Staffordshire and Birmingham, and so on.[4] There are also 'county boards' for Australasia, Canada, New York, the rest of North America, Europe and Asia, while other overseas GAA regions such as the Cayman Islands operate with their own structures not including county boards.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Whelan slams Dublin split". BBC News. 2002-01-27. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  2. ^ Gasaitéar na hÉireann / Gazetteer of Ireland. Dublin: Brainse Logainmneacha na Suirbhéireachta Ordanáis / Placenames Branch of the Ordnance Survey. 1989. ISBN 978-0-7076-0076-5.
  3. ^ Derry represents County Londonderry – see Derry-Londonderry name dispute, although the GAA county is always Derry
  4. ^ Gaelic Athletic Association, International GAA County Boards: Retrieved
  5. ^ GAA Overseas Units official booklet