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Historically why was Gaelic football so low scoring?

  • 24-11-2020 2:59am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,006 ✭✭✭ vetinari


    With the focus on the Bloody Sunday centenary, I took a look at the results for the 1920 Championship. Really low scoring. Mayo only scored a solitary goal in the semi final. One score for a team in an All Ireland semi final!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_All-Ireland_Senior_Football_Championship
    Across the board, the scoring was pretty low. From a rough sampling it seems to stay fairly low scoring until the seventies.


    Was the ball heavier, more physical tacking allowed? Definitely seems from the scorelines there was a greater focus on trying to get goals.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭ ShyMets


    vetinari wrote: »
    With the focus on the Bloody Sunday centenary, I took a look at the results for the 1920 Championship. Really low scoring. Mayo only scored a solitary goal in the semi final. One score for a team in an All Ireland semi final!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_All-Ireland_Senior_Football_Championship
    Across the board, the scoring was pretty low. From a rough sampling it seems to stay fairly low scoring until the seventies.


    Was the ball heavier, more physical tacking allowed? Definitely seems from the scorelines there was a greater focus on trying to get goals.

    I think the main reason was the solo run had not been invented yet and the handpass was banned. So the game was literally catch and kick


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,811 ✭✭✭ thelad95


    ShyMets wrote: »
    I think the main reason was the solo run had not been invented yet and the handpass was banned. So the game was literally catch and kick

    Yeah this, plus lack of fitness compared to nowadays, coupled with a ball that would probably fill with water if it rained and shall we say far more lenient refereeing than we see nowadays.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭ ShyMets


    Something else I just thought about. I'm not sure if the rule was still in place by 1920 but in the early days of the GAA the team who scored the most goals won, regardless of the number of points scored.

    So if a team scored 0-10 and the opposition scored 1-01. The opposition won as they'd scored the most goals.

    This resulted in teams trying to score goals more then points.


  • Registered Users Posts: 229 ✭✭ bocaman


    Initially didn't one goal trump any number of points? Then the rule changed and a goal was worth 5 points. This could have been a factor, though you need to also include the ball and the overall fitness of the players.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭ Uncle Pierre


    It's true that originally a goal outweighed any number of points all right, but it's actually way back in the early 1890s that the rule was changed to make a goal worth five points. Some records say this happened in 1891, and some say it was 1892.

    Then the rule was changed again in 1896, to make a goal worth three points, and that's the way it's stayed ever since.

    So this wouldn't have been a factor around 1920. It's more the case that scores were hard to come by back then for the reasons already given by somebody else above - heavier balls, little or no solo running or handpassing, and the almost impossibility of being awarded a free unless you were absolutely assaulted altogether.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,306 ✭✭✭✭ Fr Tod Umptious


    vetinari wrote: »
    With the focus on the Bloody Sunday centenary, I took a look at the results for the 1920 Championship. Really low scoring. Mayo only scored a solitary goal in the semi final. One score for a team in an All Ireland semi final!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_All-Ireland_Senior_Football_Championship
    Across the board, the scoring was pretty low. From a rough sampling it seems to stay fairly low scoring until the seventies.


    Was the ball heavier, more physical tacking allowed? Definitely seems from the scorelines there was a greater focus on trying to get goals.

    All this talk of heavier balls, no solos, no hand passing and virtually no frees is all well and good, but surely the real reason is that the Mayo forwards were brutal !


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,965 ✭✭✭ TCDStudent1


    ShyMets wrote: »
    I think the main reason was the solo run had not been invented yet and the handpass was banned. So the game was literally catch and kick


    When was that brought in?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭ ShyMets


    When was that brought in?

    Sean Lavin from Mayo is credited with inventing it in the early 20's but it was at least another 10 years before it started to be widely used


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭ Uncle Pierre


    ShyMets wrote: »
    Sean Lavin from Mayo is credited with inventing it in the early 20's but it was at least another 10 years before it started to be widely used

    Seán "Baller" Lavin, to give him his full name. ;)

    In the early days, it was actually seen in some quarters as a form of cheating, and not true to the spirit of the "catch and kick" game.

    Was similar in hurling when Billy Rackard of the great 1950s Wexford team began to popularise catching the ball overhead, instead of pulling on it in the air. Even Christy Ring is supposed to have said "that's not real hurling".


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭ ShyMets


    Just out of interest does anyone know when the handpass rule was brought in to Gaelic Football.

    I've seen footage of games from the early 60's and there doesn't seem to be any handpassing going on.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,749 ✭✭✭ Coillte_Bhoy


    All this talk of heavier balls, no solos, no hand passing and virtually no frees is all well and good, but surely the real reason is that the Mayo forwards were brutal !

    :D Id like to see the stats for Wides


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,749 ✭✭✭ Coillte_Bhoy


    Seán "Baller" Lavin, to give him his full name. ;)

    In the early days, it was actually seen in some quarters as a form of cheating, and not true to the spirit of the "catch and kick" game.

    Was similar in hurling when Billy Rackard of the great 1950s Wexford team began to popularise catching the ball overhead, instead of pulling on it in the air. Even Christy Ring is supposed to have said "that's not real hurling".
    Born just 50 yards up the road from me, plaque on wall commemorates him, was an Olympian too


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭ Uncle Pierre


    Born just 50 yards up the road from me, plaque on wall commemorates him, was an Olympian too

    I've a piece about him in a book here somewhere. Can't remember which book though, and I've got lots of them! Might try dig it out sometime soon, all the same.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭ Uncle Pierre


    ShyMets wrote: »
    Just out of interest does anyone know when the handpass rule was brought in to Gaelic Football.

    I've seen footage of games from the early 60's and there doesn't seem to be any handpassing going on.

    It was Kevin Heffernan's Dublin teams of the 1970s that first used widespread handpassing. Seems that up to that, it was used mainly only as a last resort, when the player in possession was too bunched up to kick the ball.


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