Gaelic football referred to as football or Gaelic, is an Irish team sport. It is played between two teams of 15 players on a rectangular grass pitch; the objective of the sport is to score by kicking or punching the ball into the other team's goals or between two upright posts above the goals and over a crossbar 2.5 metres above the ground. Players advance the football, a spherical leather ball, up the field with a combination of carrying, kicking, hand-passing, soloing. In the game, two types of scores are possible: goals. A point is awarded for kicking or hand-passing the ball over the crossbar, signalled by the umpire raising a white flag. A goal is awarded for kicking the ball under the crossbar into the net, signalled by the umpire raising a green flag. Positions in Gaelic football are similar to that in other football codes, comprise one goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders, six forwards, with a variable number of substitutes. Gaelic football is one of four sports controlled by the Gaelic Athletic Association, the largest sporting organisation in Ireland.
Along with hurling and camogie, Gaelic football is one of the few remaining amateur sports in the world, with players and managers prohibited from receiving any form of payment. Gaelic football is played on the island of Ireland, although units of the Association exist in other areas of the British Isles and continents such as North America and Australia; the final of the All-Ireland Senior Championship, held annually at Croke Park, draws crowds of more than 80,000 people. Outside Ireland, football is played among members of the Irish diaspora. Gaelic Park in New York City is the largest purpose-built Gaelic sports venue outside Ireland. Three major football competitions operate throughout the year: the National Football League and the All-Ireland Senior Championship operate on an inter-county basis, while the All-Ireland Club Championship is contested by individual clubs; the All-Ireland Senior Championship is considered the most prestigious event in Gaelic football. Under the auspices of the GAA, Gaelic football is a male-only sport.
Similarities between Gaelic football and Australian rules football have allowed the development of international rules football, a hybrid sport, a series of Test matches has been held since 1998. While Gaelic football as it is known today dates back to the late 19th century, various kinds of football were played in Ireland before this time; the first legal reference to football in Ireland was in 1308, when John McCrocan, a spectator at a football game at Novum Castrum de Leuan was charged with accidentally stabbing a player named William Bernard. A field near Newcastle, South Dublin is still known as the football field; the Statute of Galway of 1527 allowed the playing of "foot balle" and archery but banned "'hokie'—the hurling of a little ball with sticks or staves" as well as other sports. By the 17th century, the situation had changed considerably; the games had grown in popularity and were played. This was due to the patronage of the gentry. Now instead of opposing the games it was the gentry and the ruling class who were serving as patrons of the games.
Games were organised between landlords with each team comprising 20 or more tenants. Wagers were commonplace with purses of up to 100 guineas; the earliest record of a recognised precursor to the modern game date from a match in County Meath in 1670, in which catching and kicking the ball was permitted. However "foot-ball" was banned by the severe Sunday Observance Act of 1695, which imposed a fine of one shilling for those caught playing sports, it proved difficult, if not impossible, for the authorities to enforce the Act and the earliest recorded inter-county match in Ireland was one between Louth and Meath, at Slane, in 1712, about which the poet James Dall McCuairt wrote a poem of 88 verses beginning "Ba haigeanta". A six-a-side version was played in Dublin in the early 18th century, 100 years there were accounts of games played between County sides. By the early 19th century, various football games, referred to collectively as caid, were popular in Kerry the Dingle Peninsula. Father W. Ferris described two forms of caid: the "field game" in which the object was to put the ball through arch-like goals, formed from the boughs of two trees, and.
"Wrestling", "holding" opposing players, carrying the ball were all allowed. During the 1860s and 1870s, rugby football started to become popular in Ireland. Trinity College, Dublin was an early stronghold of rugby, the rules of the Football Association were codified in 1863 and distributed widely. By this time, according to Gaelic football historian Jack Mahon in the Irish countryside, caid had begun to give way to a "rough-and-tumble game", which allowed tripping. Association football started to take hold in Ulster, in the 1880s. Limerick was the stronghold of the native game around this time, the Commercials Club, founded by employees of Cannock's Drapery Store, was one of the first to impose a set of rules, adapted by other clubs in the city. Of all the Irish pastimes the GAA set out to preserve and promote, it is fair to say that Gaelic football was in the worst sh
Omagh is the county town of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is situated where the rivers Camowen meet to form the Strule. Northern Ireland's capital city Belfast is 68 miles to the east of Omagh, Derry is 34 miles to the north; the town has a population of 21,297, the former district council, the largest in County Tyrone, had a population of 51,356 at the 2011 Census. Omagh contains the headquarters of the Western Education and Library Board, houses offices for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at Sperrin House, the Department for Regional Development and the Northern Ireland Roads Service at the Tyrone County Hall and the Northern Ireland Land & Property Services at Boaz House; the name Omagh is an anglicisation of the Irish name an Óghmaigh, meaning "the virgin plain". A monastery was established on the site of the town about 792, a Franciscan friary was founded in 1464. Omagh was founded as a town in 1610, it served as a refuge for fugitives from the east of County Tyrone during the 1641 Rebellion.
In 1689, James II arrived at Omagh, en route to Derry. Supporters of William III, Prince of Orange burned the town. In 1768 Omagh replaced Dungannon as the county town of County Tyrone. Omagh acquired railway links to Londonderry with the Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway in 1852, Enniskillen in 1853 and Belfast in 1861. St Lucia Barracks were completed in 1881. In 1899 Tyrone County Hospital was opened; the Government of Northern Ireland made the Great Northern Railway Board close the Omagh – Enniskillen railway line in 1957. In accordance with the Benson Report submitted to the Northern Ireland Government in 1963, the Ulster Transport Authority closed the Portadown – Omagh – Londonderry main line in 1965, leaving Tyrone with no rail service. St Lucia Barracks closed on 1 August 2007. On 30 December 1942 a Consolidated Catalina Ib of No. 240 Squadron RAF, operating from RAF Killadeas crashed into the town. The crash killed all eleven occupants, however no one on the ground was killed or injured.
The cause of the crash was never ascertained. Omagh came into the international focus of the media on 15 August 1998, when the Real Irish Republican Army exploded a car bomb in the town centre. 29 people were killed in the blast -- 9 children and 6 men. Hundreds more were injured as a result of the blast. In April 2011, a car bomb killed police constable Ronan Kerr. A group of former Provisional IRA members calling itself the Irish Republican Army made its first public statement that month claiming responsibility for the killing; these wards are only those. Camowen Coolnagard Dergmoney Drumragh Gortrush Killyclogher Lisanelly Strule The town sprang up within the townland of Omagh, in the parish of Drumragh. Over time, the urban area has spread into the surrounding townlands, they include: Campsie Conywarren Coolnagard Lower, Coolnagard Upper Crevenagh Culmore Dergmoney Lower, Dergmoney Upper Gortin Gortmore Killybrack Killyclogher Lammy Lisanelly Lisnamallard Lissan Mullaghmore Sedennan Strathroy An air temperature of −19.4 °C was recorded once, it remains the coldest air temperature recorded in Ireland.
Omagh has a history of flooding and suffered major floods in 1909, 1929, 1954, 1969, 1987, 1999 and, most 12 June 2007. As a result of this, flood-walls were built to keep the water in the channel and to prevent it from overflowing into the flood plain. Large areas of land around the meanders, are unsuitable for development and were developed into large, green open areas, walking routes and parks; the Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb". Omagh is classified as a large town settlement by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. On Census day there were 19,659 people living accounting for 1.09 % of the NI total. Of these: 20.85% were aged under 16 years and 13.69% were aged 65 and over. According to the World Gaze
Stephen O'Neill is an Irish Gaelic footballer from Aughabrack, a hamlet near Dunamanagh in the Parish of Donagheady in West Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who plays for the Tyrone senior football team. He won three All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals, two Under 21 medals, a Minor medal, he was the 2005 All Stars Footballer of the Year, won All Stars Awards in 2001, 2005 and 2009. His style of play is quite traditional as a full forward getting on the end of passes, scoring with his preferred left foot. It's his superior physical strength that sets him apart from his peers, coupled with his agility on the ball, making him difficult to mark. O'Neill announced his retirement from the Tyrone Gaelic football team in January 2008, but made himself available for the All-Ireland final of the same year. Tyrone won the competition, but O'Neill refused to accept the medal, citing the fact that he felt he had not earned it, having not been part of the team on their journey to the final. O'Neill is a primary four school teacher at St. Mary's Primary School in Killyclogher, County Tyrone.
He taught at St. Mary's Primary School in Bellaghy, County Londonderry. O'Neill married Phenah McSorley from Aghyaran, County Tyrone on 9 July 2009. O'Neill has had considerable success with Tyrone youth teams winning 2 Ulster and All-Ireland under 21 titles in 2000 and 2001 to add to his Ulster Minor championship medals in 1997 and 1998 and his All-Ireland minor championship in 1998. O'Neill burst on to the senior county scene and by 2001 had won an Ulster title and the first of his three All Star Awards. During his time with Tyrone he was first choice penalty taker – scoring three in the run up to Tyrone's 2005 All-Ireland victory, shared free-taking duty with Eoin Mulligan—usually dictated by, kicking on their stronger side. O'Neill won All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals with Tyrone in 2003 and 2005, the National Football League in Tyrone's break-through year of 2002, again in 2003. Serious injury ruled him out for much of Tyrone's unsuccessful 2006 championship, he won an All Stars Award in 2001 and 2005.
In 2005, he was won a clean sweep of the Texaco award, the Gaelic player's award and the Vodafone award for Footballer of the Year, after a monumental year where he scored a total of 64 points. These performances earned him a place in the Irish team in the international rules series for 2005 against Australia. Following two years where he was blighted by recurring injuries, O'Neill agreed to undergo surgery before the end of 2007 to resolve a complex knee tendinitis condition, it was hoped that this would make him fit for the 2008 Championship, but he is now retiring from county football at the young age of 27. However, on 4 September 2008, it was announced that O'Neill would be available for selection for the All-Ireland final, following the approval of the other panel players who had reached the final without his contributions; this was despite the fact that a mere two days earlier he had gone on record denying a return, suggesting that his long absence would affect his match-sharpness. O'Neill's return to action came earlier than many expected during the 2008 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, as a 25th minute sub for the injured Colm McCullagh.
Although he failed to register a score he caused the Kerry defence a number of problems and helped Tyrone to their third Senior Football Championship win in six years. Despite being entitled to one, O'Neill refused to accept his winner's medal, saying that he "did not earn" it, he was visibly upset as he was climbing the steps to be presented the trophy, had to be consoled by teammates, such as Conor Gormley. O'Neill helped Tyrone win another Ulster Championship in 2009, beating Antrim in the final, collecting an end of season All Stars Award, his third. O'Neill dislocated his elbow in the final of the 2010 Dr. McKenna Cup, which Tyrone lost to Donegal.. Stephen's home club is Clan na Gael in Aughabrack. With the side he has won one one Tyrone Intermediate Championship. Stephen O'Neill's match-by-match profile
The Donegal County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association or Donegal GAA is one of the GAA's 32 county boards in Ireland. It is responsible for Gaelic games in County Donegal; the county board is responsible for the Donegal inter-county teams. There are 40 clubs under the auspices of the Donegal County Board; the Donegal senior football team is a major force in Gaelic football. Regarded as one of the best teams in the sport, they last won the All-Ireland Championship in 2012. Donegal players comprised most of the 2012 All Stars Team of the Year, the three nominations for the All Stars Footballer of the Year won by Karl Lacey. In addition, having been invited to assist the Celtic soccer team in Scotland, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness became the first Gaelic football inter-county manager to have been offered a role at a professional sports team abroad. McGuinness's services have been sought by Premier League soccer teams. In terms of style, "the system" deployed by the Donegal senior football team has been likened to that of the Spanish association football team FC Barcelona.
They are one of only five counties to have defeated Kerry in their first Championship meeting — the others being Down, Derry and Cork. Donegal play since their foundation in green and gold kits, which are the colours of the board's logo and of the county crest because they recall the gold of the sandy beaches of the county and the green of the well known Hills of Donegal. Despite the colours have been always the same during the years, their disposal has been different for much of the team's history; the classic Donegal kit was indeed composed by a green shirt with a golden hoop, white shorts and green and yellow socks. In 1966 the board opted for golden shirts but they turned green after only a short period, in the 80's often with green shorts. In 1992, when they reached the semifinal against Mayo, they had to use a change kit, a yellow shirt with green sleeves and green shorts. Due to the unexpected victory against the favorite Connacht side, they decided to retain this colour combination for the final against Dublin.
Donegal won their first All-Ireland title and since they have favoured a yellow/gold shirt and green shorts. Donegal wore as change kit yellow shirts or black and yellow ones. Since they use yellow as primary colour, change kits have been white; the first Donegal County Board was formed in 1905, with its first football game being against Derry on 17 March 1906. In 1906, the county won its first major trophy, the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship, when Donegal overcame Antrim in the final, held at the Moss Road hurling field, by a scoreline of 5-15 to 0-1. Donegal lost the 1933 "Home final" of the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship to Mayo and made their next appearance at Croke Park on Sunday 6 April 1952; the occasion was a National Football League semi-final and their opponents that day were Cork.1960s The sixties saw Donegal emerge as a footballing force with victories to match their undoubted abilities. They came into contact with a majestic Down machine, blistering the national stage with their prowess, becoming the first team from the North to win All Ireland senior championships in 1960, 1961 and 1968.
Amazingly, Donegal’s first appearance in an Ulster senior final was not until 1963, followed by a second appearance in 1966, On both occasions they were defeated by Down. The county came to the fore of Ulster football in the 1970s, winning their first Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1972; the win coincided with the county's first All Star—in the form of Brian McEniff—in the second year of the award's existence. Reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly defeated the Ulster champions in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final on the way to their second consecutive All-Ireland title. A second provincial title followed for Donegal in 1974. Galway, All-Ireland finalists in 1971 and 1973, defeated them in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final. In 1979 Donegal reached the Ulster Final again under the guidance of Sean O'Donnell but were defeated by Monaghan. Donegal won a third provincial title in 1983. Again they were beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final, ahead of what would become a notorious 1983 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, known as the "Game of Shame".
In 1987, Donegal won the All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championship, a success which provided the basis for future prosperity in the county. They defeated Kerry in the final. In 1990, Donegal defeated Armagh in the Ulster Senior Football Championship Final. Eventual All-Ireland Finalists Meath beat them in the 1990 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final. However, Donegal would win the Ulster Senior Football Championship Final again in 1992; as a result of this victory an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final against Mayo beckoned. Donegal overcame the men from Mayo to set up a 1992 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final meeting with raging-hot favourites Dublin. Donegal's greatest footballing accomplishment yet was realised on 20 September 1992 when they defeated the fancied Dublin by a scoreline of 0–18 to 0–14 to take the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time. Brian McEniff, serving in his second spell as Donegal manager, pulled the strings. Man of the Match Manus Boyle scored 0–9, while Gary Walsh pulled off a great save from Vinny Murphy at the end.
This was the zenith of this great Donegal team who contested five successive Ulster Senior Football Championship Finals between 1989 and 1993. The Donegal tea
Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association is an Irish international amateur sporting and cultural organisation, focused on promoting indigenous Gaelic games and pastimes, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball and rounders. The association promotes Irish music and dance, the Irish language; as of 2014, the organisation had over 500,000 members worldwide, declared total revenues of €65.6 million in 2017. Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular activities promoted by the organisation, the most popular sports in the Republic of Ireland in terms of attendances. Gaelic football is the second most popular participation sport in Northern Ireland; the women's version of these games, ladies' Gaelic football and camogie, are organised by the independent but linked Ladies' Gaelic Football Association and the Camogie Association of Ireland respectively. GAA Handball is the Irish governing body for the sport of handball, while the other Gaelic sport, rounders, is managed by the GAA Rounders National Council.
Since its foundation in 1884, the association has grown to become a major influence in Irish sporting and cultural life with considerable reach into communities throughout Ireland and among the Irish diaspora. On 1 November 1884, a group of Irishmen gathered in the Hayes' Hotel billiard room to formulate a plan and establish an organisation to foster and preserve Ireland's unique games and athletic pastimes, and so, the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded. The architects and founding members were Michael Cusack of County Clare, Maurice Davin, Joseph K. Bracken, Thomas St George McCarthy, a District Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary, P. J. Ryan of Tipperary, John Wise-Power, John McKay. Maurice Davin was elected President, Wyse-Power and McKay were elected Secretaries and it was agreed that Archbishop Croke, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt would be asked to become Patrons. In 1922 it passed over the job of promoting athletics to the National Athletic and Cycling Association.
The association has had a long history of promoting Irish culture. Through a division of the association known as Scór, the association promotes Irish cultural activities, running competitions in music, singing and storytelling. Rule 4 of the GAA's official guide states: The Association shall support the Irish language, traditional Irish dancing, music and other aspects of Irish culture, it shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs. The group was formally founded in 1969, is promoted through various Association clubs throughout Ireland; the association has many stadiums scattered throughout Ireland and beyond. Every county, nearly all clubs, have grounds on which to play their home games, with varying capacities and utilities; the hierarchical structure of the GAA is applied to the use of grounds. Clubs play at their own grounds for the early rounds of the club championship, while the latter rounds from quarter-finals to finals are held at a county ground, i.e. the ground where inter-county games take place or where the county board is based.
The provincial championship finals are played at the same venue every year. However, there have been exceptions, such as in Ulster, where in 2004 and 2005 the Ulster Football Finals were played in Croke Park, as the anticipated attendance was to far exceed the capacity of the traditional venue of St Tiernach's Park, Clones. Croke Park is the association's flagship venue and is known colloquially as Croker or Headquarters, since the venue doubles as the association's base. With a capacity of 82,300, it ranks among the top five stadiums in Europe by capacity, having undergone extensive renovations for most of the 1990s and early 21st century; every September, Croke Park hosts the All-Ireland inter-county Hurling and Football Finals as the conclusion to the summer championships. Croke Park holds the All-Ireland club football and hurling finals on every St. Patrick's Day. Croke Park is named after Archbishop Thomas Croke, elected as a patron of the GAA during the formation of the GAA in 1884; the next three biggest grounds are all in Munster: Semple Stadium in Thurles, County Tipperary, with a capacity of 53,000, the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, which holds 50,000, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, County Cork, which can accommodate 45,000.
Other grounds with capacities above 25,000 include: Fitzgerald Stadium, in Killarney, a capacity of 43,180 MacHale Park in Castlebar, the largest stadium in Connacht, a capacity of 42,000 St Tiernach's Park in Clones, County Monaghan, hosts most Ulster finals, a capacity of 36,000 Kingspan Breffni Park, in Cavan Town, County Cavan, which hosted International rules football series games in 2013, a capacity of 32,000 Casement Park, in Belfast, a capacity of 32,600 O'Moore Park, in Portlaoise, County Laois, a capacity of 27,000 Healy Park, in Omagh, County Tyrone, a capacity of 26,500 Pearse Stadium in Galway, which has hosted International rules football series games, a capacity of 26,197Research by former Fermanagh county footballer Niall Cunningham led to the publication in 2016 by his website, gaapitchlocator.net, of a map of 1,748 GAA grounds in Ireland, ranging from 24 grounds in his own county to 171 in Cork. The association has, since its inception, been associated with Irish nationalism, this has continued to the present in relation to Northern Ireland, where the sports are played exclusively by members of the ma
Peter Canavan is a former Irish Gaelic football player and pundit for Tyrone. He played inter-county football for Tyrone, is one of the most decorated players in the game's history, winning two All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals, six All Stars Awards, four provincial titles, two National Leagues and several under-age and club championship medals, he represented Ireland in the International Rules Series on several occasions from 1998 until 2000. He is considered one of the great players of the last twenty years by commentators such as John Haughey of the BBC, in 2009, he was named in the Sunday Tribune's list of the 125 Most Influential People in GAA History, his scoring record of 218 points is the second highest of all time in the Ulster Senior Football Championship. His early high scoring rate, when he would be Tyrone's best performer – in the 1995 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final when he scored eleven of Tyrone's twelve points—led to claims that Tyrone was a "one-man show," and that the team was too dependent on him in his early career.
Since retiring as a player he has managed the Fermanagh inter-county Gaelic football team. Canavan was the tenth of eleven children, his older brother, played with him on the Tyrone panel for most of the 1990s. He is married to Finola, has four children, Claire and Ruairi, has been a Physical Education teacher in Holy Trinity College, throughout most of his career. While there, he taught Eoin Mulligan his point-taking technique, the pair have been known in the media as'master and student' since by television commentators, he writes a column for the Gaelic games magazine, Hogan Stand and the Northern Ireland edition of The Daily Mirror. and in 2008, Canavan joined TV3 as a football pundit for their first year of broadcasting live GAA matches. In 2003, just over a week before Tyrone's Ulster final appearance against Down, Canavan's father, Seán, died, it came. He decided to play in the match, stating that he knew, subconsciously " was going to be playing in the Ulster final all along and Daddy wouldn't have wanted to do anything but play."Canavan has suffered from asthma since he was a child, has battled throughout his career to control the ailment.
He told the Asthma Society of Ireland, "I thought to myself, this is something that I am just going to have to put up with." In years, improved medication has afforded Canavan what he described as, "a better quality of life". To play for an inter-county GAA team, Canavan had to work around a Gaelic Athletic Association bylaw, because of a dispute in his parish, Errigal Ciarán. Two clubs claimed to represent the parish, the established Ballygawley St. Ciaran's club and the newly formed club called Errigal Ciaran Naomh Malachai. Players from the Errigal team were not recognised as being GAA members, because the club failed to register correctly. Canavan registered as a member of the Killyclogher hurling club though he didn't play the sport, just so he would be eligible for selection for the Tyrone minors. Prior to that, he had not played legitimate club football, but had forged his way onto the Tyrone under-age teams with his performances at school level; the two clubs united under the banner of Errigal Ciaran two years later.
In 1988, Canavan won the Ulster minor Championship, an under eighteens tournament, but lost in the All-Ireland semi-final to Kerry. The crux of this team, including Adrian Cush, Ciaran Corr and others, would stay together as part of the senior team for most of the nineties. Canavan captained Tyrone to two All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championships titles in 1991 and 1992, having been on the team which lost the 1990 final, again to Kerry. In four years as an Under 21 player, Canavan scored 13–53 for Tyrone. By the time he was twenty, he was an automatic choice in the senior panel. Canavan's name was known around Tyrone because of his exploits for the Under 21 team, but he started to make an impact in the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1994, as Tyrone lost to eventual All-Ireland champions, Down, he was the top scorer in the province, earning him his first All Star, at the age of 23. Throughout the 1995 championship, Canavan had spearheaded Tyrone's march to the final, with round after round of massive scoring exploits.
Against Derry in the Ulster Semi-final, he scored 0–8, against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final, he scored 1–7. Tyrone reached their second All-Ireland Final in 1995, were up against Dublin who hadn't won a Championship since the 1980s. In a turgid match, Canavan scored eleven of Tyrone's twelve points in the, but still ended up on the losing side; the game was remembered as contentious for Tyrone fans, for the fact that a point that would have equalised the match in the dying seconds was controversially disallowed, because the blind-sided referee deemed Canavan to have touched the ball on the ground. The referee, Paddy Russell stated in his autobiography that he was certain the ball was on the ground, but Canavan contested in the same book that he managed to get elevation on the ball as he punched, which would have been difficult to do if it was touching the ground, he was the top scorer in Ireland that year, with a total of 1–38, earning him the inaugural Footballer of the Year title.
The fact that Canavan's scori
The Down County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association or Down GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Down. The county board is responsible for preparing the Down inter-county teams in the various Gaelic sporting codes. Down was the first of the six counties in Northern Ireland, the second in Ulster after Cavan to win the All-Ireland football championship, in 1960, they won again 1961 and in 1968. Down share with Cavan the Ulster record for most All-Ireland victories at 5; as such, Down is regarded as a strong footballing county, football is regarded as the dominant Gaelic sport within the county. The Ards peninsula, however, is a hurling stronghold within the county, while the county hurling team are not among the strongest on the island, competing in the second tier Christy Ring Cup, the'Ardsmen' have won a number of Ulster Senior and Minor Hurling Championships despite the historical provincial dominance in that sport of Antrim.
Down hurlers won the Christy Ring Cup for the first time in 2013. This entitled them to enter the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, however Down opted to remain in the 2nd on this occasion; the oldest registered club in Down is Mayobridge, affiliated into the GAA on the 30th April 1888. With just one loss in six appearances in All Ireland finals, Down have got a reputation for rising to the big occasion. Kitted out in their distinctive red and black, their massive fan base has been responsible for some of the largest match attendances in GAA history. Although in the last twenty years they have been going through a barren patch at senior level, despite various successes at underage level, in 2010 Down showed signs of improving by gaining promotion to the National Football League Division One and reaching the All Ireland Senior Football final - narrowly losing by 1 point to Cork. Down was not regarded as a Gaelic stronghold when Queen's University won the 1958 Sigerson Cup, some of its leading players turned their thoughts to Down's inter-county dilemma.
They took the 1959 Ulster title with six inter-changeable forwards who introduced off-the-ball running and oddities such as track-suits. In 1960 two goals in a three-minute period from James McCartan and Paddy Doherty helped beat Kerry, who were completely unbeaten at the time, which brought to an end the Kerry football regime for a few years, they beat Offaly by a point in 1961 in a tremendous match that featured five first half goals. In that three-year period their loyal supporters smashed every attendance record in the book; when Down played Offaly in 1961 they set a record attendance of 90,556 for a GAA game. Against Dublin in the 1964 National League final a record 70,125 showed up; the 71,573 who watched them play Kerry in 1961 still stands as a record for an All-Ireland semi-final. In 1968, Down beat Kerry with Sean John Murphy goals, again in a two-minute spell. Despite a famous prediction that Down would go on to win three in a row, the county took twenty years to regain its status.
In 1991, they surprised favourites Meath, Barry Breen giving them the goal that sent them into a lead of eleven points with 20 minutes to go, too far for Meath. In 1994, Mickey Linden sent James McCartan, Junior in for a goal directly under Hill 16 which silenced Dublin and helped them claim their fifth title. Down teams through the years have played with great emphasis on attack leading to the neglect of the defence; this system has cost Down teams in the past 10 years or so with the introduction of more negative tactics to quell forward lines with a massive emphasis on blanket defence. In 2008, Down defeated Tyrone after a replay in the Ulster Senior Football Championship but fell to Armagh in the Ulster SFC Semi Final. Down went on to play Offaly in the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers. After a convincing 5-19 to 2-10 victory over Offaly, Down faced Laois in round 2 of the qualifiers. Beating Laois by a single point, with Dan Gordon being sent off, Down were through to the last round of the qualifiers where they played Wexford at Croke Park.
Down had Dan Gordon's suspension removed, but awful conditions and poor Down performance resulted in a defeat to Wexford by a 2-13 to 0-12 scoreline. In 2010, Down reached the All-Ireland Final after a narrow win over Kildare in the Semi-Finals, they lost to Cork at GAA Headquarters, the first time Down has tasted defeat in the All-Ireland Final. Cork were three points down at half-time but they upped the ante in the second half and ran out 0-16 to 0-15 winners in the end. Down captain Benny Coulter's effort on 70 minutes and a fisted Daniel Hughes effort a minute into added time left the bare minimum in it and, the way it stayed as Cork collected their seventh All-Ireland SFC crown in front of 81,604 spectators. All-Ireland Senior Football Championships: 5 1960, 1961, 1968, 1991, 1994 Ulster Senior Football Championships: 12 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1991, 1994 National Football Leagues: 4 1960, 1962, 1968, 1983 Dr McKenna Cups: 11 1944, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1972, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2008 Dr Lagan Cups: 6 1949, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championships: 1 1979 Ulster Under-21 Football Championships: 9 1965, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1985, 2005, 2008, 2009 All-Ireland Minor Football Championships: 4 1977, 1987, 1999, 2005 Ulster Minor Football Championships: 10 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1977, 1979, 1986, 1987, 1999 All-Ireland Junior Fo