Science and Gaelic football: a review

J Sports Sci. 2001 Mar;19(3):181-93. doi: 10.1080/026404101750095330.


This review focuses on Gaelic football and scientific reports of the characteristics of its players and the demands of the game. Anthropometric characteristics vary according to positional role, but top players display high muscularity and good all-round fitness at the peak of the competitive season. Match analysis indicates that exercise intensity is roughly equivalent to that for professional soccer. Average heart rates are approximately 160 beats x min(-1) during competitive matches, and average oxygen consumption is about 72% of maximum. Metabolic fatigue in active muscles is unlikely. Conventional biomechanical and electromyographic techniques are useful in gaining insight into individual games skills. Inadequate attention has been given to injury prevention and to psychological aspects of the game. Although possessing unique characteristics, Gaelic football has many similarities with other football codes, especially Australian Rules football where the ball is played by both hands and feet and where tackling is permitted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Physical Fitness
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Soccer / psychology