Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association
(Cumann Luthchleas Gael), or GAA
, is an organisation which is mostly focussed on promoting Irish
sports, such as hurling
, gaelic football
, though it also promotes Irish music
and the Irish language
The man directly invloved in the founding of the G.A.A was a Clareman, Michael Cusack. Born in 1847 Cusack went on to pursue a career as a teacher in Blackrock College. In 1877 he set up his own cramming school, the Civil Service Academy, to prepare students for examinations into the British Civil Service. 'Cusack's Academy' as it was known and its pupils did extremely well with the result that the numbers attending it soared. Pupils at the Academy were incouraged to get involved in all forms of physical exercise and, as a language enthusiast, Cusack was troubled by falling standards in specifically Irish games. To remedy this situation and to re-establish hurling as the national pastime, Cusack set up the G.A.A on the first of November 1884 in Hayes's Hotel, Thurles. Of the seven men present at the inaugural meeting it has been estimated that four were members of the I.R.B (Irish Republican Brotherhood).
Aims of the G.A.A
- 1. To prevent the decline of native pastimes.
- 2. To open athletics to all social classes.
- 3. To aid in the establishment of hurling and football club which would organise matches between counties.
Within a few weeks of the foundation of the association Archbishop Croke of Cashel gave it his approval and became its first patron. Its other patrons included both Davitt and Parnell. Cusack was a difficult man to get along with but in the first few months of the organisation he proved to be an excellent organiser. Cusack did not, however continue to run the association for long after its foundation. Within eighteen months he was obliged to resign as a result of his failure to submit accounts for auditing. Archbishop Croke introduced a new rule which forbade members of the G.A.A from playing 'foreign and fantastic games' such as tennis, polo, and croquet.
The G.A.A in the Twentieth Century
Up to the turn of the century most of the members were farm labourers, small farmers, barmen or shop assistants. But from 1900 onwards a new type of person - those who were now being influenced by the Gaelic League (1893) - joined the movement. They tended to be clerks, school teachers or civil servants. In 1922 it passed over the job of promoting athletics to the National Athletic and Cycling Association.
The Achievements of the G.A.A
The G.A.A Today
- 1. The ancient game of hurling was saved from extinction and both it and Gaelic football were standardised.
- 2. As a result of the G.A.A native games were taken out of the hands of the landlords and police and passed to the nationalists.
- 3. A spirit of local patriotism was awakened in Ireland.
- 4. In its democratic constitution it helped prepare the country for self - government.
- 5. The G.A.A played an important part in the forging of a national identity in the early years of the twentieth century.
The G.A.A is the largest amateur sports association in Ireland. The G.A.A controls more than 3,000 member clubs and controls about 500 grounds throughout Ireland.
Important Dates of the GAA
Major GAA stadia:
- 1884 - the GAA is founded on November 1 in Hayes' Hotel in Thurles, Tipperary
- 1886 - the Artane Boys Band gives its first GAA public performance on June 14 of this year
- 1887 - Tipperary and Limerick win the first All-Ireland Hurling and Football Finals respectively
- 1892 - goals are made equal to five points and teams are reduced fro 21 to 17-a-side.
- 1896 - the value of a goal is reduced from 5 points to 3 points
- 1912 - the junior championships are introduced at All-Ireland level
- 1913 - the Jones' Rd. ground, Dublin, is purchased by the GAA and renamed Croke Memorial Park
- 1920 - twelve spectators and a player, Michael Hogan, are killed in Croke Park during a Black & Tan raid
- 1926 - the first radio broadcast of a GAA match took place when Galway played Kilkenny
- 1931 - the name Cumann Luthchleas Gael is adopted
- 1935 - the GAA enters its second half century: a crowd of 50,000 attend the All-Ireland Finals
- 1938 - Micheál O Hehir commentates on fis first GAA match
- 1939 - the Cork V. Kilkenny hurling match is remembered as the thunder & lightning final as the climax is played in a storm
- 1947 - the Cavan V. Kerry All-Ireland Football Final is played in the Polo Grounds, New York.
- 1954 - a record 84,856 attend Croke Park when Cork play Wexford in the hurling final
- 1959 - 75th Anniversary of the GAA: the first cantilevered New Hogan Stand is opened at Croke Park
- 1961 - a record 90,556 attend the Down V. Offaly All-Ireland Football Final at Croke Park
- 1962 - the first GAA match is broadcast live on Telefís Éireann (RTÉ)
- 1976 - Páirc Uí Chaoimh is opened in Cork City
- 1984 - Centenary year of the GAA: the All-Ireland Hurling Final between Cork & Offaly is played in Thurles
- 1993 - a grand plan to completely re-construct Croke Park was launched
- 1996 - the new Cusack Stand was opened
- 2002 - the redeveloped Cusack, Canal End and Hogan Stands were officially opened
- 2003 - the Nally Stand was removed to make way for the refurbishment of Hill 16