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What was early GAA like?

  • 06-08-2019 10:28am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 2,571 Zion Hot Staffer


    Just been looking at some old GAA champions Wikipedia pages and this question crossed my mind. I imagine the current game in both codes would be barely recognisable compared to that of the late 1800s to early 1900s.

    The scores seem utterly bizzare, there were no red or yellow cards, and I think I read somewhere that the games were two hours long? Was there rule changes or anything that made the game more similar to today's one, or was it simply pioneering players/managers that encouraged higher scoring matches?

    Take 1914 football for example: Monaghan/Armagh played out a scoreless draw in the Ulster semifinal, before Monaghan prevailed in the replay winning 1-1 to 0-2. Kerry won the all Ireland 2-3 to 0-6 against Meath in a replay after drawing 1-3 to 2-0 in the first game. Surely this can't have been very enjoyable to play or watch?

    Hurling in 1914 was also a bit mad. A Tipp/Limerick game finishing 8-0 to 3-1, Clare beating Galway 6-6 to 0-0 in the AI semi final, before beating Laois by 5-1 to 1-0. Some the pulls were utter carnage I imagine :pac:

    And basically every year in the early 1900s was like this! Why were games so low scoring? Did teams just not realise going for more points improved their chances of winning? So many questions. It's just a fascinating topic and I think it'd be great if we could share our knowledge in this thread to help us better understand the early games :)


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,118 ✭✭✭✭ RMAOK


    Wasn't it 21 a side up until the 1910's?

    The red and yellow card thing is a recent phenomenon - cant remember exactly, but it's no more than 20 years ago.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭ dobman88


    I'd say the low points to high goals ratio in hurling would have a lot to do with the fact it was mostly ground hurling the way it was played. Wouldnt have been many lads picking it up, soloing or striking long.

    Wasnt Christy Ring one of the first to start running with the sliotar on the hurl and was seen as a pioneer of the game at the time


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,204 ✭✭✭ partyguinness


    Intercounty football from the 70s and 80s and even into the 90s was grim enough 95% of the time- like a really ****e Junior C game today.

    God only knows what it was like back in the 1900s. A cousin of mine going way back won on AI with Cork in 1911 obviously that was an exceptionally good year.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 2,176 ✭✭✭ ToBeFrank123


    I think hurling was nearly all ground hurling and Mick Mackey was one of the first to start picking up and soloing the ball in the 1930s.

    I think football was 17 a side until about 1915. But the rules were loose at the time and objections and counter objections were a big problem. Games could be played and replayed over and over.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 2,176 ✭✭✭ ToBeFrank123


    Intercounty football from the 70s and 80s and even into the 90s was grim enough 95% of the time- like a really ****e Junior C game today.

    God only knows what it was like back in the 1900s. A cousin of mine going way back won on AI with Cork in 1911 obviously that was an exceptionally good year.

    Football was mostly catch and kick up to the 1970s. Catch the ball, leather it down the other end of the field and hope for the best. There were of course a few more refined footballers such as Purcell or O'Connell who actually looked to put it into free space or play to the strengths of their team and they were ahead of their time.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭ Exiled1


    Should read 'The Hurlers' by Paul Rouse... a superb book detailing the early days of GAA and hurling in particular. It is framed around the first All Ireland hurling final between Tipp and Galway, played in Birr. The book includes much social history of the time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,526 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    Football was mostly catch and kick up to the 1970s. Catch the ball, leather it down the other end of the field and hope for the best. There were of course a few more refined footballers such as Purcell or O'Connell who actually looked to put it into free space or play to the strengths of their team and they were ahead of their time.
    sounds like hurling till a few years back


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,217 ✭✭✭ cms88


    Just been looking at some old GAA champions Wikipedia pages and this question crossed my mind. I imagine the current game in both codes would be barely recognisable compared to that of the late 1800s to early 1900s.

    The scores seem utterly bizzare, there were no red or yellow cards, and I think I read somewhere that the games were two hours long? Was there rule changes or anything that made the game more similar to today's one, or was it simply pioneering players/managers that encouraged higher scoring matches?

    Take 1914 football for example: Monaghan/Armagh played out a scoreless draw in the Ulster semifinal, before Monaghan prevailed in the replay winning 1-1 to 0-2. Kerry won the all Ireland 2-3 to 0-6 against Meath in a replay after drawing 1-3 to 2-0 in the first game. Surely this can't have been very enjoyable to play or watch?

    Hurling in 1914 was also a bit mad. A Tipp/Limerick game finishing 8-0 to 3-1, Clare beating Galway 6-6 to 0-0 in the AI semi final, before beating Laois by 5-1 to 1-0. Some the pulls were utter carnage I imagine :pac:

    And basically every year in the early 1900s was like this! Why were games so low scoring? Did teams just not realise going for more points improved their chances of winning? So many questions. It's just a fascinating topic and I think it'd be great if we could share our knowledge in this thread to help us better understand the early games :)

    In the early days a goal outwaighed any number of points. For example Cork might score and goal and Dublin might score 10 points but Cork would still win


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,571 Zion Hot Staffer


    cms88 wrote: »
    In the early days a goal outwaighed any number of points. For example Cork might score and goal and Dublin might score 10 points but Cork would still win

    Now that's crazy. So taking a point was basically just an insurance score in case the game finished level?


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 2,176 ✭✭✭ ToBeFrank123


    Came across this.

    https://www.museum.ie/The-Collections/Documentation-Discoveries/July-2015/Gaelic-Athletic-Association-Football-Rules-Book,-1

    Some interesting rules in there such as:

    What football rules were set down in January, 1888?


    1888’s Rule 1 defined the size of the playing pitch. The ground for full teams (21 a-side) would be 196 yards long by 140 yards broad. 2015 pitch dimensions for 15-a side are 158 yards long and 98 yards wide.

    Rule 4 detailed that there shall be an upright post standing 21 feet from each goal post on the goal line. A goal was scored when the ball went between goal posts and under the crossbar. A point, when the ball went over the crossbar or over the goal line within 21 feet of either goal post. In a change from today’s practice, Rule 5 stated that immediately prior to throw in, each team will stand in two ranks opposite each other in the centre of the field , each holding the hand of one of the other side. Matches would be decided by the greater number of goals. When the amount of goals were even, it was decided on the greater number of points.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,217 ✭✭✭ cms88


    Now that's crazy. So taking a point was basically just an insurance score in case the game finished level?

    It's actually quite hard to figure out really. That seems to be the case, but sometimes you see games from then when a team would score 10 points


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    I've read fairly detailed reports of old games and am none the wiser really! First football games that sound anyway close to what we might know are from reports of teams like Tipp, Kerry, Dublin, Kildare in 20s.

    Before that seemed pretty basic. Lots of big burly characters booting a heavy ball 20 feet and lots of lads chasing it unless they were taken out by a rabbit punch!

    As someone else said hurling was almost exclusively ground with a heavy ball and sticks more like shinty ones than modern hurls. And rough as fk.

    My Tipp grandad played in Dublin and for Dublin from about 1919 to 1930 and there is report of him having scored a goal been carried off unconscious and not waking up for six hours!


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,851 ✭✭✭✭ BonnieSituation


    Exiled1 wrote: »
    Should read 'The Hurlers' by Paul Rouse... a superb book detailing the early days of GAA and hurling in particular. It is framed around the first All Ireland hurling final between Tipp and Galway, played in Birr. The book includes much social history of the time.

    Rouse is absolutely fantastic. He literally has my ideal job. Sports history is wonderful at the best of times.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭ ArmaniJeanss


    cms88 wrote: »
    It's actually quite hard to figure out really. That seems to be the case, but sometimes you see games from then when a team would score 10 points

    Presumably if you were ahead by say 1-0 to 0-4 then deliberately scoring 'own points' when under pressure becomes a thing. Helps you retain possession and kill time. e.g., Dangerous ball into box, rather than trying to play it out, flick it over your own bar.

    Maybe that explains some scores.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,650 ✭✭✭ PowerToWait


    Intercounty football from the 70s and 80s and even into the 90s was grim enough 95% of the time- like a really ****e Junior C game today.

    God only knows what it was like back in the 1900s. A cousin of mine going way back won on AI with Cork in 1911 obviously that was an exceptionally good year.

    You’re obviously an expert but I can’t help thinking that thousands would find your position laughable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,851 ✭✭✭✭ BonnieSituation


    You’re obviously an expert but I can’t help thinking that thousands would find your position laughable.

    And there's thousands of us who agree with him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 57,099 ✭✭✭✭ FrancieBrady


    Paddy Kavanagh used to talk about taking the uprights to a game and erecting them.
    In his essay 'Gut Yer Man' he talks about players shaking the posts and bending them to try to ensure a kick went wide. :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,428 Powerhouse


    And there's thousands of us who agree with him.


    So you would equate, say to choose randomly, the 1998 All Ireland final between Galway and Kildare with a particularly sh**te Junior C match today? You must be watching different Junior C matches to me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,851 ✭✭✭✭ BonnieSituation


    Powerhouse wrote: »
    So you would equate, say to choose randomly, the 1998 All Ireland final between Galway and Kildare with a particularly sh**te Junior C match today? You must be watching different Junior C matches to me.

    I think the opprobrium is held for the 70s and 80s kick and crap.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 818 ✭✭✭ Hal3000


    I don't know anything about GAA or Hurling so I'm not going to comment here


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    I think the opprobrium is held for the 70s and 80s kick and crap.


    I don't know it was that "crap."

    Fair enough there were few teams that played at the level of Kerry and Dublin but I wouldn't watch most football games now either.

    Main thing I recall as a kid in Dublin playing in school and street leagues in 1973/4 - before Dublin won the AI - was that it was a grimly unattractive game to play. Big smelly jerseys, 30 a side rucks chasing a ball that seemed to be full of liquid concrete.

    Hurling on the other hand, was for the more sensitive, artistic aesthete :)


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,934 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stoner


    Bonniedog wrote:
    Hurling on the other hand, was for the more sensitive, artistic aesthete


    You must whisk a lovely egg Bonniedog, a great man for the pavlova if the mixer is broken.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    Stoner wrote: »
    You must whisk a lovely egg Bonniedog, a great man for the pavlova if the mixer is broken.

    I take it you are referring to my wristiness as a hurdler, rather than implying something about my sexuality :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,851 ✭✭✭✭ BonnieSituation


    Bonniedog wrote: »
    I don't know it was that "crap."

    Fair enough there were few teams that played at the level of Kerry and Dublin but I wouldn't watch most football games now either.

    Main thing I recall as a kid in Dublin playing in school and street leagues in 1973/4 - before Dublin won the AI - was that it was a grimly unattractive game to play. Big smelly jerseys, 30 a side rucks chasing a ball that seemed to be full of liquid concrete.

    Hurling on the other hand, was for the more sensitive, artistic aesthete :)

    Don't you start. You're not even pure blood! :P


    ---

    The home final vs the final v London nonsense used to always annoy me. It was as bad as Galway getting to SFs by default in hurling.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,934 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stoner


    Bonniedog wrote:
    I take it you are referring to my wristiness as a hurdler, rather than implying something about my sexuality

    100% added value on the culinary skills only sir!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 201 ✭✭ Sir Guy who smiles


    Hal3000 wrote: »
    I don't know anything about GAA or Hurling so I'm not going to comment here

    You've Got A Little Boy. He Shows You His Butterfly Collection - Plus The Killing Jar. How Do You React?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    Don't you start. You're not even pure blood! :P


    ---

    The home final vs the final v London nonsense used to always annoy me. It was as bad as Galway getting to SFs by default in hurling.


    Tippophobe :(

    Doubt that will ever become a hate crime some how.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,934 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stoner


    I do remember being told the whole one goal is worth an infinite number of points.

    Then they put a number on it, something crazy.


    Was there some game between Dublin and Cork one side got a goal and then sat on the line and defended it for the whole game let them score points all day but the one goal did the job.


    Was earlier football between townlands playing, start at a halfway intersection and you had to work the ball into your own village to score. Obviously very localised. 50 + a side


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,851 ✭✭✭✭ BonnieSituation


    Stoner wrote: »
    I do remember being told the whole one goal is worth an infinite number of points.

    Then they put a number on it, something crazy.


    Was there some game between Dublin and Cork one side got a goal and then sat on the line and defended it for the whole game let them score points all day but the one goal did the job.


    Was earlier football between townslands playing, start at a halfway intersection and you had to work the ball into your own village to score. Obviously very localised. 50 + a side


    A goal is worth (∞+1) points :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭ ArmaniJeanss


    What's the earliest games we have good visual recordings for? A decent chunk of the game as opposed to 5 second clips.
    I've seen some Irish soccer from the 1910s, not sure GAA has anything like that. Would be fascinating.


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