Wednesday 23 September 2015

The origins of Australian Rules

Australian Rules stadium.
The basics: Two teams of 18 do battle across four 20-minute quarters on a circular field with four posts at each end. If the ball goes through the two middle posts - which are taller - a goal is scored. A goal is worth six points. If an attempt at goal goes between the outer posts it is known as a 'behind' and is worth one point.
(taken from

Aussi rules football.

The true origins of Aussi Rules are widely debated. The earliest football in Australia was believed to be English and Irish folk football, which dated back to the 1820's.

Tom Willis (founder of the sport)

The Australian Rules football game was founded in 1857 by Tom Willis, a great sportsman that had just returned to Australia from captaining a rugby school in England. He was also a brilliant cricketer. He created the game with the intention to keep cricket players fit during their off season in winter. On 8th August the Melbourne Football club was founded the first Australian rules football team. In 1896 the Victorian Football League was founded originally containing 9 teams. Today the Australian Football League contains 17 teams. In 2006 615,549 people were recorded to be participating in the sport in Australia and in 2010 35,000 people were recorded to be playing the sports in structured competitions in 32 countries.

In the 1970's historians began studying the origins of the sport. Many myths were preconceived claiming that the sport descended from Gaelic football and that indigenous games such as Marngrook also had their part to play in the creating of the sport. There is little evidence to support these theories.

Australian football league logo.

Due to the similarities between Gaelic football and Aussi rules many games between the two sports have been arranged using compromised rules from the two sports. The games consist of the top players from the two associations from the year prior.

The origins of the GAA

Basic Rules: If the ball goes over the crossbar but between the posts, it’s worth a point. If it finds the net it’s called a goal, which is worth three points. For example, if the score is 5-2 to 0-4, the first team is winning by 13 points. Such a big margin in Gaelic Football is a rarity though, which very few fans (mostly from Leitrim) have had to endure.
hurl and sliotar (Left)
Gaelic football (right)
Handballs are allowed and so are those dangerous looking sticks. Only the ladies are allowed to pick the ball straight off the ground without using their foot, which according to the scientists who designed the rules is an impossible skill for the fairer sex to master.
Players can pass by kicking and punching or hand-passing the ball. i.e. no throwing allowed. You’re allowed to hand-pass the ball over for a point but it is illegal to score a goal using this method. For counties such as Carlow, it is seemingly illegal to score a goal using any method.
(taken from - Dummies Guide to GAA
GAA logo

Ancient scriptures give us an insight to pre-GAA, hurling mainly but the there are still records of football. Ancient Brehen law documents show that hurling was played since at least the 8th century. Following the Norman invasion in the 12th century, hurling was banned by the English crown. The first record of Gaelic football dates back to 1527 in the statutes of Galway, which allowed football to be played but not hurling. The earliest reported match was in Slane in 1712, between Meath and Louth. Foreign visitors noted the importance the Gaelic football and hurling had to the social life of the community. Teams consisted of all the able men in the parish or town. They would compete against other parishes in a neutral area in between the two areas. The game was won when the ball crossed a the boundary of the opponents parish.
Michael Cusack . Founder of the GAA

In August 1884 Michael Cusack met with a group of nationalist in Loughre, Co Galway, to discuss establishing the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to revive hurling. Now the GAA is the largest sporting association in Ireland, with over 2,800 clubs, 182,000 footballers and 97,000 hurlers.  

Monday 21 September 2015

The origins of American Football

"Beginner's Guide to American Football

American football ball

One 11-man team has possession of the football. It is called the offense and it tries to advance the ball down the field-by running with the ball or throwing it - and score points by crossing the goal line and getting into an area called the end zone.

The other team (also with 11 players) is called the defense. It tries to stop the offensive team and make it give up possession of the ball. If the team with the ball does score or is forced to give up possession, the offensive and defensive teams switch roles (the offensive team goes on defense and the defensive team goes on offense). And so on, back and forth, until all four quarters of the game have been played.
In order to make it easier to coordinate the information in this digest, the topics discussed generally follow the order of the rule book. "
(taken from the NFL official website)
Walter Camp "Father of  American Football"

The origins of American football can be trace back to Association football and rugby football. Both games were created in 19th century Britain and were the basis of English public school games. Both games involve kicking a ball in between two posts or running a ball over a line.

American football began by many major splits from the two sports, most notably made by Walter Camp a man who is known as the "Father of the sport". Some of  these changes included the line of scrimmage and of down and distance rules. In the early 20th century gameplay advances from college coaches took advantage of the  new forward pass rule.

The popularity of college football increased and became the dominant version of the sport in the US. Bowl games were set up, rivalries were created and the games began to attract national crowds.
NFL logo

In 1920 the American professional Football Association was created. The league name was changed two years later to he National Football League (NFL). This became the major league of american football. Starting off as being primarily played in industrial towns it rapidly spread out throughout the country. The increasing popularity of the league can be traced back to the 1958 championship game which has been described as the greatest game ever. The American Football League (AFL) was set up in 1960 to rival the NFL. After pressure from the public to merge the two leagues the Superbowl was created. The Superbowl became and still is the most watched annual event on american television and also attracts millions of viewers outside of the US.

Friday 11 September 2015

The origins of soccer

Soccer ball (world cup Brazil 2014 ball)
Soccer is an eleven a side game between two teams. The game involves using any part of the body apart from the hands (mainly the feet) to get the spherical ball into the goal.

The origins of soccer can be traced back to many countries and ancient civilisations such as china (during the han dynasty), Greece, Rome and Japan. The game wasn't properly formed however until 1863 in England.

According to historians a game named cuju is believed to be the earliest form of football. Cuju was believed to have been formed during the han dynasty between 206 -220AD. The game involved using any part of the body apart from the hands to get the ball into an open net. It was remarkably like football. Other variations of the game include  Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum. They were greek and roman ball games and were played involving hands and violence. They resembled volleyball, rugby and wrestling as well as soccer. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia.
Soccer stadium (Old trafford, Manchester United)

Soccer began in 1863 in england, when the football association and the rugby football association branched off from each other, making the football association of england the first governing sports body. On 21 May 1904 FIFA was founded in Paris by delegates from Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Here they created the statutes of the game, unifying the laws of the game and the foundations for future development.

Fifa logo
Today soccer is the worlds most popular sport. According to Fifa 270 million people are involved in football, approximately 4% of the worlds population. Soccer is a billion euro franchise, with major clubs like real Madrid and Manchester united worth well over the billion mark and dishing out hundreds of millions on players and wages alone each year alone. There's no telling how much money this franchise is actually worth.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Ball Sports

Hi my name is David Moran and this is my blog on ball sports. Each week for the next five weeks I will be posting information about a different ball game, how they were founded, how they link with other games etc.