Sports in Ireland
Let’s go to the second part of our series: Living & working in Ireland. As already mentioned in my first blog everyone can find something in Ireland he or she likes. For today we are talking about sports in Ireland.
When it comes to living and working abroad you get the chance to explore and experience all that a new country has to offer, so with that in mind, let's concentrate on the sporting life you will be exposed to when working in Ireland. Gaelic Football, Hurling, Rugby and Soccer as they are the most popular sports in Ireland.
The 2 most popular sports in Ireland are Gaelic Football and Hurling and they are part of GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association or GAAAAHHH, as some of the Irish call it.) In Hurling there are 15 players on each team and they play with wooden sticks known as 'Hurleys' that are used to hit a 'Sliotar' which is a ball the size of of a tennis ball but it is really hard and the main aim of the game is to get the sliotar into your opponents goal or over the cross bar. This is a ruff and tumble sport but the Irish love it and the atmosphere at a game is amazing.
Hurling was even at the Olympic Games once and is played in many countries around the world. Here again the fans are crazy about hurling.
One thing that has to be mentioned right away: it is NOT soccer! Gaelic football is derived from traditional Irish ball games. There are many differences between soccer and Gaelic football but you will see. Two teams of 15 players are trying to kick the ball through the other team’s goal. In that case the team gets 3 points for 1 goal. The other possibility is to pass the ball through a set of two upright posts separated by a crossbar 2.5 metres above the ground to get 1 point. The match is divided into two 30 minute halves. But more important than the rules, is the atmosphere in the stadium that reminds Europeans of a soccer match. You know a Gaelic match will be soon when its all people can talk about at work.
Let’s talk about rugby, the sport Herbert likes the most at Careertrotter. Ireland is the third oldest rugby nation after England and Scotland. It’s a team game as well with 15 players on the field. Rugby is very popular in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. One game is divided into 40-minutes halves. There are 5 different ways to make points:
- A Try: Where the aim is to run to the other side of the field and gound the ball over the oppenent's goal. Worth 5 points
- A Penalty Try: Worth the exact same points as a try.
- A Penalty Goal: Worth 3 points
- A Conversion: This can take place directly after scording a Try and with the 2 combined the team can win 7 points. A conversion is where the team kicks the ball over the crossbar.
- A Field Goal: Which is worth 3 points.
Forward passing is not allowed but the ball can be moved forward by kicking, holding and running with it. You may be familiar with the term 'scrum' or maul which is difficult to describe so we strongly recommend going and having a look for yourself - it is a fun day out.
Last but not least soccer has to be mentioned. Soccer is the sport Europeans love the most and even in Ireland it is very popular. Two teams of eleven players are only allowed to kick the ball or hit it with their heads, the only exception is the goalkeeper who is allowed to use his hands inside his area. The objective is to kick the ball into the opponent’s goal. The match is divided into two halves of 45 minutes and the atmosphere in a soccer game is unmatched.
It is highly recommended to go and see a few games of each sport, being around the Irish fans once the games begin is amazing, the excitement, the adrenaline and the craic is a sight to behold and they aren’t even playing. Even if you are not a fan of sports, you will love the atmosphere of the people after just one game, I’m sure of it. Sports can always be very thrilling. So if you’re afraid of not having that thrilling experience in Ireland anymore you don’t have to worry anymore and maybe you’re convinced of one of those I presented. If not, you still can do something else, like horse racing, greyhound racing, basketball, fishing, handball, motor sport, target shooting, tennis, hockey, golf, rowing, cricket…