chapter  25
Fitness Profiles of Elite Players in Hurling and Three Football Codes: Soccer, Rugby Union and Gaelic Football
Pages 7

Gaelic football and hurling are two of the national sports in Ireland. Both are field games played by two teams of 15 players. Gaelic football is played with a round ball, which may be played with the hands or the feet. Hurling is played with a smaller, tennis-sized ball, which is propelled by striking it from the hand or the ground with a hurley (a stick approximately 80 cm-90 cm long). These sports contrast with Association Football (soccer), which is played by two teams of 11 players, where any body part, except the arms or the hands, can be used to manipulate the ball. Both Gaelic football and hurling are played on a similar sized pitch, which is about 40% longer than a soccer pitch (Strudwick et al., 2002). Rugby Union is a further code of football played by teams of 15 (8 forwards and 7 backs). The object of the sport is to secure possession of an oval shaped ball and capitalise on possession by scoring more points than the opponents.