Gaelic footballers and their followers receive no payment, have no transfer system, and remain loyal to their home county as players or supporters. This is more than a sport - it is a subculture of its own, with songs, stories and ceremonies that are unique in the sporting world. In this fascinating book, Eoghan Corry describes: * The emergence of teams and players whose new tactics brought success, as well as the rivalries, near misses and failures which entered the folklore of the game * How the early rule makers observed existing pastimes, prevalent in both urban and rural areas, and turned them into an organised sport * How regional and international influences helped shape Gaelic football and how it has been changed by the games, players, innovators and officials in every decade since the GAA was founded in 1884. The History of Gaelic Football also outlines how the game became entangled in the politics of Ireland's independence movement, the internal debates and the organisational difficulties that have coloured the history of the sport.
Tracing the course of the game as it weaves and bobs through political controversy, civil war, and the fast-changing Irish society since the 1950s, it shows how the development of techniques and tactics reflected wider trends in Irish society. It recounts the often hilarious incidents, the invading crowds, the crazy goals, the blind referees, the rough, the tough and the bizarre that all characterise Gaelic football everywhere it has been played, from Oxmantown Green in the 1700s to Melbourne Cricket ground in the 21st century. But above all it celebrates the players who brought entertainment, excitement and excellence, and who enriched the lives of ordinary people through the length and breadth of the country.