CONTENT I: Ancient Games of Ireland
Ireland has its own unique games, part of its sporting tradition and these games can be traced back to pre-historical times to the realm of legend and myth, as there is little recorded history until the 5th or 6th centuries A.D. There is a legend or mythological tale which informs us of an ancient Irish game which grew out of the natural landscapes and raw materials of ancient Ireland. The story of Setanta and how he acquired the name Cúchulainn Hound of Culainn in Gaelic or Irish is as follows.
On a historical timeline indicate that a boy called Setanta lived in Ireland in 400 B.C. approximately.
Read the story, How Setanta Got His Name
Complete workcard on the story listed above.
CONTENT II: History of Striking and Ball Games
The shape and wood type used in Setantas hurling or hitting stick make it an obvious prototype of the modern hurling game while the small ball fashioned from leather is still used in a modern Irish game called hurling. Several countries have striking games which involve a striking stick and small ball. Examples include cricket, baseball, golf, ice hockey, hockey and tennis. These are all modern games which developed from their original forms to their present form.
The early Europeans played three kinds of ball games. In one, the ancestor of modern hurling and hockey, the ball was driven by a partly-curved stick. In another, the ancestor of modern soccer, the ball was propelled by foot only. In another third type, from which a modern Irish game of Gaelic Football as well as rugby and Australian Football all derive, the ball was partly thrown by hand and partly kicked.
Tell the children the shape and wood type used in Setentas hurling and hitting stick, i.e. the native timber "Ash" led to the development of a modern game called hurling.
Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Ask the students to create a list of striking games they are already familiar with which use a small ball and a variation of the stick.
List the ideas brainstormed by the children on an overhead transparency.
Inform the children of the three variations of ball games played by early Europeans, one of which is the ancestor of modern hurling.
CONTENT III: Further History of Irish Games
According to another ancient Irish legend, there was a great battle fought about 2000 BC between two rival races and before the battle the two armies agreed to have a hurling match 27 aside. Several players were killed in the match. Another legend tells of how a King was cured of deafness when he was accidentally hit during a hurling match. Hurling was supposed to be such a magical game that it was said to have been played by moonlight by fairy folk, on the surface of lakes and even under waters.
A race of people called the Normans came to Ireland from Europe in 1169 A.D. Like the Celtic Irish before them, the Normans also grew to love hurling and sometimes the chieftains had their own teams of paid professional hurlers.
The game nearly died out when a great famine came to Ireland in 1847. Many people died and immigrated. The ancient games and pastimes disappeared.
When the famine was over in 1884, an organization called the GAA-Gaelic Athletic Association was set up to keep the ancient games of hurling and football alive. The modern GAA is concerned with the native games hurling, camogie (hurling for girls), Gaelic football, handball (another native game) and also Irish song, dance, etc.
Refer back to the original timeline and mark the dates or approximate dates of these developments (the arrival of the Normans, the year of the great Irish famine).
Point out the effects that a catastrophic event has on a nation's culture.
Ask the students why the GAA was needed to preserve dying cultural traditions.
Research Project/Create a Historical Timeline: Ball Games have been played by man from the earliest stages of civilised society. The Old Testament, the Roman poet Homer, and the ancient Egyptian monuments all show that ball games were known as far back as you go in history. Ancient Persians, North American Indians, and South American Aztecs all have ball games. Assign groups of children to research their own civilisations, in particular the games played by them. Place the respective historical events representing the evolution of a particular sport in the appropriate position on a timeline.
Artwork: Individual children or groups of children can illustrate, and write a cartoon presentation of elements of the story How Sentanta Got his Name through the use of programs such as "Clip Art," "Paint" or through the use of concrete materials.
Dramatize the story of Setanta: The teacher may assume the role of both participant and observer to allow children to explore important social and personal issues. Some examples include making moral choices, assuming responsibility for your actions, respect for sporting excellence, etc.
Write your own legend: Require each student to reflect on their favorite game or sport. Leave them with the question, "How did this sport originate?" Then students should write their own legend about the early beginnings of their favorite game. It might be helpful to provide other legends for students to familiarize themselves with so that they have a framework for the content of a written legend
URL: www.gaa.ie This site contains images of (a) exuberant supporters at an All-Ireland Final, (b) a winning captain raising the All-Ireland Cup, (c) a section on the GAA museum, (d) an image of Croke Park Stadium, etc.
Action photographs (1 for every two children)
Map of Ireland showing the 32 divisions or counties of Ireland including the four main Provinces
CONTENT I: Introduction to the Irish Games Promoted by the GAA
Handball and Rounders
Remind the children how the ancient game of hurling originated with the story of Setanta.
Refer to www.clarehurlers.com for action photographs of various hurling players demonstrating the skills of hurling.
Locate digital photos of the hurley, the protective helmet, and the ball called a 'sliotar.'
Locate images of camogie and football at www.gaa.ie
CONTENT II: GAA Structures How the GAA is organised in Ireland.
Ireland itself is divided up into divisions called counties. There are 32 of these counties. Each of the 32 counties has their own club competitions. Thew GAA has over 2,500 clubs in Ireland alone. Club players must either work or live in the club area. Players cannot be bought or sold as in professional rugby or soccer so they are very loyal to their club because their friends and family are from that area and they have great pride in playing for the honour of their club. If you are a very good club player, you can be chosen to play for our county team in the All-Ireland Hurling, Football and Camogie Championships. First you must win the Province Final. There are four provinces, Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connaught. The winners in these four Provinces contest for the All-Ireland Final. It is a great honour to win an All-Ireland Final.
Indicate the thirty-two county divisions of Ireland.
Indicate the four provinces of Ireland: Munster, Leinster, Connacht, and Ulster.
Estimate on average how many clubs there are in each county.
CONTENT III: Stadia
The most famous GAA stadium in Ireland is called Croke Park in Dublin. The stadium is very modern and has a capacity of over 80,000 like Wembley Stadium in England or Parc de France in Paris. At the GAA museum in Croke Park, visitors and tourists can learn about the history of Irish games and examine trophies, jerseys, hurleys, read about and watch video footage of all the great games of the past. Although Croke Park only recently rebuilt its wonderful modern stadium there were often up to 100,000 people at matches in the past. Nowadays many people are disappointed every year as they cannot get tickets for the all-Ireland Final no matter how much money they pay. Other famous stadia include Semple Stadium and Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Using the website www.gaa.ie present an image of Croke Park Stadium.
Ask the children to name as many famous sporting stadia as they can think of.
Divide the class into four groups based on the four provinces of Ireland-Munster, Leinster, Connacht, and Ulster. Ask them to discuss the following difficulties faced by the GAA authorities and to record possible solutions.
The comfort, safety, refreshments, sanitary, entertainment and maintenance requirements of 80,000 people in a sporting stadium.
The selection, collection, presentation, and protection of sporting relics in a sports stadium.
The fair distribution of tickets to deserving supporters for a national sporting occasion.
The ways in which the GAA might fund the provision of both its large sports grounds and stadia.
A group spokesperson presents the findings to a GAA committee.
CONTENT IV: The All-Ireland Finals
There is always a tremendous atmosphere in Croke Park for an All-Ireland Final. The county supporters wear their colours and shout their support for their favourite team. Before the game the players march around the field behind a brass band. Sometimes the players are nervous before games and need time on the pitch to relax and show all of their skills. One reason for this is because the National Television and Newspapers will have featured the teams, the star players and their predictions for victory or defeat.
Show the children photographs of supporters and players on the day of the All Ireland final.
On an overhead transparency list the many emotions of players and supporters associated with the great sporting contest.
Use the photographs on URL www.gaa.ie to stimulate the childrens interest . Examples include overjoyed, dejected, hopeful, excited ecstatic.
CONTENT V: The All-Stars
Every year the 30 greatest players in Ireland are honoured. They are chosen as All-Stars, 15 hurlers and 15 footballers.
Define the term All-Stars in reference to the top players that one chosen to represent a country. Allow children to suggest other honours such as being chosen on the Ryder Cup team, receiving an Oscar etc.
Refer to www.gaa.ie
CONTENT VI: Amateurism
GAA players are amateurs. That means that they are not paid to play. They play because they enjoy it and because they are proud to play for their club or county. They must also make a living so they work as teachers, engineers, and doctors or in business during the day. The top players now train for up to 15 hours each week as well as playing games. Some of these top players feel things may change in the future and that they may become full time professional players in the future
Generate a class discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of amateur sports and professional sports
from the players viewpoint
from a supporters viewpoint
Explain that amateur players are greatly respected by the G.A.A as many train as hard as professionals.
Revise the following terms:
Send an e-mail to the Clare hurlers at www.clarehurlers.com
Research and list the great sporting stadiums of the world.
Creative Writing Exercise, My Experience as a Captain in the All-Ireland Final
CONTENT I: Barefield School A Nursery of GAA Games
National School is a modern eight-teacher school on the outskirts of Irelands
Information Age Town Ennis. It is
situated in a beautiful part of the west of Ireland close to famous tourist areas like the
Medieval Castle Bunratty, and the majestic Burren landscape where Michael Cusack, the
founder of the GAA was born.
Barefield is one of the 2,500 clubs in Ireland. They won the county championship and went on to win the Provincial championship. They play in the All-Ireland club final in Croke Park on March 17th next, which is the feast day of our national Saint of Ireland St. Patrick. Because they already won the Club final in 1999 and reached the final in 2000, the pupils in Barefield National School decided to honour their local players by designing a special website about the team. The address of this website is listed above.
Two of the
players featured on the web site are All Stars ie. they are two of the best players
in all of Ireland. Just a few years ago they were pupils of Barefield National School.
(i) The History of the Club
(ii) The players
(iii) The stars.
Stimulate the childrens interest by displaying a digital photograph of an Irish National School Barefield National School, Ennis, Co.Clare, Ireland.
Highlight the homepage of the St.Josephs Doora Barefield website.
Provide the students with information on the varied sporting interests of Irish school children such as those at Barefield.
Discuss the concept of the globalisation of sport and consider any advantages and disadvantages this may have for a small country possessing unique games.
CONTENT II: General Skills and Tactics of Hurling
Many Irish Schools like Barefield National School take responsibility for teaching the skills of hurling and Gaelic football. Last year the school team won the championships in their county, Clare, both hurling and football.
There are many skills and tactics in the game of hurling and the players need to be very fast, skilful, brave and aware, to perform to their full potential when the hurling sticks are flashing and the ball is moving at up to and above 160km per hour.
As we watch a game of hurling we see that the purpose of the game is to score goals (worth 3 points) and points. It is easier to score points but still takes skill to score when running at speed and when under pressure of being blocked or hooked by an opponents hurling stick. In photographs or videos of the game it is possible to see the players striking the ball on the ground as in hockey. They also jab-lift or roll-lift the ball directly from the ground using the hurley. They collect the ball in their hand and strike it up to eighty metres down field. They also run with the ball on the hurley ( a solo run), they strike it back like a return shot in tennis and also keep the ball moving in a forward direction (doubling) without stopping it. It is possible to see players blocking the ball, dribbling (close control on the ground while moving forward) the sliotar catching the flying sliotar overhead or in the chest with one hand.
Players take free shots by lifting the sliotar with the hurley and striking it directly off the hurley while side-lines are chipped directly off the ground. Players should also be able to strike on both strong and weak sides. Players can only take the ball in the hand twice and only for 3 steps, before releasing it to a team mate by hand passing or by striking. It is important to legally and fairly block an opponents shot using the hurley and also to protect your body using the hurling stick. Many players now wear special helmets to protect their heads during the game.
Six defenders are opposed by six attackers while two players from each team contest mid field. Each team has a goalkeeper. Players must continuously move and overlap as they try to find the opportunity and fraction of a second of space to attempt to score a goal or a point.
Define the terms 'skills' and 'tactics' in reference to sports with which the students are familiar. For example, the foot-pass in soccer or the drop-kick in football.
Allow students to work with a partner for the following exercise.
Present each pair with an action photograph from www.clarehurlers.com
Ask them to record as many discrete skills or tactics which they observe within the photographs.
Summarize the great variety of skills listed in the content section and present them on a prepared overhead.
CONTENT III: Skills of Hurling A Practical Demonstration
The students of Barefield National School have learned and can demonstrate some of the following ball skills of hurling.
(i) Correct grip and swing striking a stationary ball strong side or weak side.
(ii) Blocking a ball moving on the ground, strong or weak side.
(iii) Dribbling with the ball on the ground.
(iv) The chest catch.
(v) Run to a stationary ball and strike it on the ground, strong or weak side.
(vi) Roll lift and catch a stationary ball.
(vii) Balance a ball on the hurley.
(viii) Hand passing or palming the ball.
(ix) Jab lift the ball.
(x) Striking the ball from the hand, strong side and weak side.
(xi) Catching a ball over head.
(xii) Blocking a ball over head.
(xiii) Solo run (a) Ball balanced on the hurley
(b) Ball hopping on the hurley.
(xiv) Doubling back (striking a moving ball to return it in the direction from which it was coming.
(xv) Free taking.
(xv) Doubling forward (striking a moving ball to send it further in the direction it was already travelling.
(xvi) Sideline cut.
There are also many contact and tackling skills such as
(i) The shoulder-to-shoulder clash
(ii) The hooking tackle
(iii) The block down
Contesting a ball overhead
Present the students with a series of photographs which demonstrate the hurling skills (i-ivii). These photographs can be found on the Barefield National School homepage http://homepage.eircom.net/~barefieldns
Discuss each photograph in relation to the level of difficulty and the additional constraints to its successful execution within a game situation.
Dramatize skills in the form of a revision game.
Provide or imagine the stick and a ball
Students choose one skill from a series of facedown skill cards.
Teams representing counties (Lesson II) dramatise the chosen skill.
Check accuracy and award points
CONTENT IV: Looking Into the Future
The pupils of this school are part of the modern world. They are interested in modern music, and they play soccer, indoor hockey, basketball and many other games. They want to be involved in and find out about European games, music and culture. But they are also very proud of their own special history from the time of Cúchulainn right up to their modern stars like James OConnor and Ollie Baker. GAA games are played in England, Scotland, Canada, North America, Australia and in Asia, although mostly by Irish people who have travelled to these countries. Irelands GAA footballers play a series of matches against the Australian footballers every three years. These games are really exciting and are known as Compromise Rules Football. Both teams change the rules of their native games slightly so that a new game has been produced.
You can now watch the All Ireland Finals any place in the world as they are available on the Internet at www.rte.ie The Hurling Final is played on the first Saturday in September.
Discuss the concept of the globalisation of the sport and consider advantages and disadvantages for a small country possessing unique games.
Present locations where Gaelic games are played worldwide on www.gaa.ie
European schools can share information about their school, local and national games with the pupils of Barefield National School by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Distribute a copy of the story, I Have A Dream by Aisling Murphy, a pupil in Barefield National School. The story was published as part of a project on Irish childrens dreams. Ask the students to write their own story entitled, I Have A Dream.
Write a newspaper report on an All-Ireland Final.
Send E-pal messages to other schools attaching photographs of sporting skills of a game played in their school.
Create a Gaelic sporting collage incorporating action photographs of Gaelic games.
On a map of the world, indicate and name the countries where Gaelic games are played.
Digital action photographs of Gaelic footballers in action. www.gaa.ie,
A supply of footballs, Markers and goalposts . A selection of coloured bibs .
. A selection of coloured bibs .
Warm-up Activity: Setanta
Variation: Form groups. Scatter beanbags or footballs in Setantas grounds. Try to pick up the beanbag or football without being caught. See which group can collect the most beanbags or footballs.
Introduction to the Various Skills (Content/Methodology):
Crouch-lift Stationary Ball
Advise pupils to place supporting leg in front and to the side of the ball, hands close together as they nudge the ball into their hands.
Repeat exercise while jogging.
The ball is kicked at right angles
to where the player is facing. Strike the
ball through the centre point with the in step following through in the direction of the
target. Swing the kicking foot forward and
upwards across the body.
The ball is kicked at right angles to where the player is facing. Strike the ball through the centre point with the in step following through in the direction of the target. Swing the kicking foot forward and upwards across the body.
Skill Drill Hook-Kick
Hand Pass and Fist Pass
Skill Games-Fist Passing and Sprinting
Skill Drill: The Block Down/Interception
Organize a game of Gaelic football incorporating the skills learned in these particular classes i.e. Crouch-lift, hook-kick, toe-tap or solo, hand pass, fist pass, and the block down.
present their patch study to an older class .