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Not your usual kickabout

Something different: two players jump for the ball during training at Somersfield Academy

There is a football dropping from the clouds into the middle of the field, there to greet it are two men with their hands outstretched over their heads, each hoping to catch it, then land, ship a hefty shoulder tackle and head up the field in pursuit of a score.

This is Gaelic football, a 700-year-old Irish sport set to take over the National Sports Centre tomorrow at 3.15pm when both the St George’s Gaels and the Somerset Shamrocks will be attempting to lay claim to the inaugural Jimmy Quinn Memorial trophy.

Gaelic football is a mix between football, rugby and basketball, with the object of the game being the same with most sports, outscore the opposing team.

Scoring involves kicking a ball, which is a heavier version of a football, through two upright posts, similar to rugby, except the posts also incorporate a football-like goal below the crossbar, which is manned by a goalkeeper.

Anything above the bar is one point, while below the bar is a goal worth three points.

A player can play the ball on the ground with his feet as football, or kick the ball with his foot off the ground into his hands and kick or hand pass the ball to a team-mate for a score.

Players are allowed to travel with the ball in their hands, but can only take four steps before needing to release the ball from their hands onto either their foot, or bounce it off the ground, before taking it back into their hands again to take another four steps.

An opposing player is allowed to shoulder the player in possession in order to try and regain possession.

Games consist of 35-minute halves, with two teams of 15 players each. Positions are broken into a goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders and six forwards, each being man marked by an opposing player.

In Ireland, Gaelic football teams are derived from local villages or parishes, and a game between two local teams can be compared to an all-out war as you don’t win for only yourself as a player, but also for your family, and neighbours, who all want the bragging rights, much like it is with Cup Match.

Because of this, the organisers hope to get spectators from across the Island tomorrow cheering on their respective representative team.

The players on each team come from a number of different countries including Bermuda, Ireland, Britain, United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australia, many who took the game up for the first time a few weeks ago.

Admission is free and organisers are encouraging as many as possible to attend with their children to see this physical, fast-paced game, in the flesh.

The Bermuda GAA would like to thank sponsors BTC and Docksiders.