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Pictures: Here Is Gaelic Football 1884 Style

Pictures: Here Is Gaelic Football 1884 Style
By Conor Neville
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To celebrate Granard GAA's 125th anniversary they played a game against neighbours Arva. The one difference to a normal challenge being that this was played under 1884 rules. Cue a festival of flat caps, jockstraps and agricultural pops at goal. Thanks to St. Mary's Granard GAA for throwing up these photos

The protective headgear otherwise known as the flat-cap is sadly no longer de rigueur in the modern game. It was also obligatory back in the 1880s that at least 30% of the players have a fag dangling from their mouth.

This appears to be a pre-match Haka style war-dance

The players came bounding out of the tunnel in that upright manner. The jock-straps were thought to add to the players' aerodynamic capacity

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The pre-match handshake was a tradition embraced in 1884. We are not sure why it was discarded. Was there an hitherdo undocumented John Terry-Wayne Bridge incident at some point in the hostory of the association

 

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Pleased to see the ball being thrown in by a priest. This was a simple tradition that the modernisers done away with many years ago

Also, the tactic of crowding the midfield has come back into vogue in recent years but most people are under the impression that it's a modern phenomenon. On the contrary it was a widely adopted tactic during the early years of the GAA as this throw in shows.

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This man appears to be readying himself to fist the ball in the old-fashioned "top of the knuckle" manner that fell by the wayside

 

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We're not sure about the exact weight of the ball in question, but it looks like a rock hard item, of the time Stanley Matthews would have had to heave goalwards

 

A classic, no-frills, methodical solo of the ball. Also there appears to be neither a green nor a white flag behind the goal but a red flag. We will investigate this. We're not sure this was the classic umpires garb of the day

 

This is like an Anthony Nash free. This defence was taking no chances. It was "win at all costs" in the 1880s. There used to be 21 players on the pitch. We're not sure how diligent refs were about counting the amount of players on each team

 

Another rebuke to those who say cynical fouling was invented by Tyrone in the early 2000s. Don't be surprised if this photo is used by Tyrone GAA in one of their press days next year.

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We're not quite sure what this manoeuvre is or how representative it of 1880s football. It appears to a particularly violent assault. The umpires back then were clearly much more proactive though. Look at that for finger wagging

 

Supporters then, as now, were liable to be distracted from the game when they caught a camera lens pointing their way

 

 

 This guy was obviously a supremely elegant and 'ahead of his time' player for the 1880s. We have our doubts that there were many players kicking the ball in that stylish 'round the corner' manner back then. More a succession of ungainly bull-toes

That's more like it

 

Another classic kicking action back then. One throws the ball up in the air, waits for it come down, before lamping it in the general direction of the oppositions goal

The rock hard ball came bouncing off this man's chest with quite the ferocity

The Arva attacker takes a pop at goal. The referee, who bears a notable resemblance, to the Granard team boss (as seen below) takes up some dubious positioning (This could be grounds for one of those appeals that were quite common in the GAA at that time and that led to games such as the 1924 All-Ireland being played in February 1926)

The team photo was a much more cobbled together affair, where the assortment of minders and helpers connected with the team were allowed stand in

 

This photo is a more structured affair but does offer a throwback to a time when the man "over the team" (not yet called a manager) was obliged to look like the ringmaster of a circus (perhaps appropriately as one of the Unionist papers of the time might have noted darkly)

 

 

 

 

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