Gaelic Football and Hurling have been played across Australia and New Zealand for many decades by Irish immigrants, visa workers and backpackers keen to maintain a connection with the national sport of their youth.
These days men, women, boys and girls from all backgrounds now play Gaelic games. Both Ladies Football and Camogie are experiencing particularly strong growth, with the Australasian Ladies Football team securing a place in the final at this year’s World GAA Games in Abu Dhabi. We will be looking to go one step further next year when the games are hosted in Ireland.
In 2001 Gaelic Football met the stringent criteria of the Australian Sports Commission to become an officially accredited sport in Australia. To safeguard the continued development of Gaelic Games, a strong focus is currently being place on youth development with the introduction of “Go Games” specifically targeted at childern under 12. Perth are leading the charge with the establishment of their Gaelic Games Junior Academy.
Similar to other field sports, Gaelic games are generally played over the Winter months. However, in South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, they have switched to a Summer season, allowing them to attract local-born AFL and Rugby League players keen to maintain match fitness over their off-season.