About Gaelic Sports
The St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club members play Gaelic football, hurling and camogie.
Gaelic football, while not as ancient as hurling, is very popular in many parts of Ireland. To learn more about Gaelic football, click here.
Gaelic football is similar to soccer, but players can lift the ball and pass it to other players using hand passes. Players can kick the ball into the goal for three points or kick or hand pass it between uprights for one point.
The St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club has a six-team coed Gaelic football league that plays in the fall. Competition usually starts after Labor Day and continues to mid-November.
Soccer players typically learn the sport quickly, but players with little or no experience with field sports are also welcome.
Hurling is the traditional sport of Ireland, one that still draws tens of thousands to competitions between counties and clubs. To find out more about the sport, click here.
To summarize a sport that is thousands of years old, players use hurleys (wooden sticks with a wide, flat end) to hit a sliotar (a ball) down field. The 14 field players and goalie can kick, catch and hand pass the sliotar to their teammates and can kick or hit the sliotar into a goal for three points or between uprights for one point.
The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) oversees hurling in Ireland and in the United States, where most of the country – including St. Louis – is in the North American County.
In St. Louis, three former members of the Milwaukee Hurling Club formed the St. Louis Hurling Club in 2002. Paul C. Rohde, Dan Lapke, and Patrick O’Connor saw the club grow from three members to playing in its first hurling tournament in the spring of 2003. The club has expanded (and changed its name) to include Gaelic football and the women’s sports of camogie and women’s Gaelic football.
In 2011, the club expanded to an eight-team hurling league. The spring season typically starts competition the last weekend in March and plays for a 10-week season, not including play-off and championship games, with breaks for out-of-town travel.
Camogie is women’s hurling. Some of the rules of hurling are modified for the women’s sport – for example, shoulder-to-shoulder tackling is not allowed, a smaller sliotar is used, and players may handpass for a goal. To learn more about camogie, click here.
Although the St. Louis hurling league is coed, competition at the national level is not. To train for games against other cities, and to compete nationally, St. Louis’ female players decided to begin a camogie team.
The team has since traveled to Denver, Indianapolis and Chicago for games against other camogie teams, in addition to participating in the 2010 NACB national tournament. The team has developed into a two-team league, which plays games every other weekend during the coed hurling league season.
Field hockey, lacrosse and soccer players can easily learn camogie skills; the team welcomes anyone who wants to learn the game.
Here is a great tutorial on how to play hurling:
Here is some STLGAC video action: