27-05-24 GAA Rounders

GAA Rounders where it all began and where it is today

Category : Front Page News | Sub Category : Front Page Posted on 2024-03-24 22:52:29

GAA Rounders where it all began and where it is today

The Game 

When one mentions the game of Rounders it is usually accompanied by the usual suspect quotes "I loved playing that in school".   "I thought that was just a kids game" ,"I didn't know it was part of the GAA.
However, what is old can sometimes still be very new.  

The History 

Rounders was known to have been played in many different parishes throughout Ireland at various times, but extremely little in the line of historical accounts have been recorded or spoken of. Footage exists of the game being played at the Tailteann games in 1922.  Circa 1958, Antrim Native Peader O'Tuaitain, while browsing bookshops in Belfast during lunch times, acquired a copy of the G.A.A. Official Guide, in which was printed a field diagram and complete set of Rounders playing rules, in English agus as Gaelige.   This official guide was circulating within all clubs and committees in Ireland and other lands from as early as eighteen eighty-four. Filling a dozen pages at the back of the book, yet it remained a section that no one appeared to know anything about. So began Peaders' quest to promote the game of Rounders.  

Despite the apparent lack of interest in the sport, Peader was not to be deterred.  He spent a lifetime promoting the game through various school programmes in Ulster and was largely responsible for the games revival.  He gathered help along the way and established the rounders championships which remain in place to this day.  His enthusiasm for the game is still very evident to this day and he keeps a keen eye on all things rounders whenever he can. I often wonder, had Peader the power of today's social media at his disposal, how big would the game have grown?  

Minority sports can be a tough sell initially, but Rounders has proved a hidden gem attached to the biggest amateur organisation in the world. For those that play the game competitively, it is often pondered as to why there are not more clubs competing.  On closer analysis, it isn’t for the want of not playing in my experience. You can join a GAA club in almost every parish in Ireland, but if you want to play rounders you have only 54 choices.  Why such a limited availability?  The truth Is GAA Rounders is playing catch up in a seriously competitive market.  

New Clubs Rising

Over the last five years the numbers playing have increased largely. Nineteen counties have adopted the code in some form - Mens, Ladies, Mixed or Juvenile.  The championships are played on an All-Ireland club format which requires travel for clubs depending on what championship your seeded in Senior, Mixed or Junior. The travel issues are much more forgiving at Junior and Intermediate, where clubs are more likely to play teams based on geographically location. The increased number of entries at Junior level in particular means it's easier to structure the championship provincially, a welcomed feature from a sustainability point of view.  In 2014 there were only four senior mens teams, and the Intermediate championship did not exist at all. Currently, there are nine senior mens teams and seven intermediate, nine senior ladies and a further nine intermediate ladies teams playing.  The Junior ladies accounts for fifteen competing teams. In addition, the mixed code has ten senior, ten intermediate and sixteen junior teams.  

How does it differ from other GAA sports? The buzz of a championship game is no different in terms of on field excitement.  Senior graded games can be over in under one hour depending on the standards of the two teams. There’s also exists a healthy rivalry amongst clubs. The standard of fielding is to be commended and it's not uncommon to see an intercounty hurler or camogie player gracing the outfield for many a team. The games are end-to-end mens, ladies and mixed. Unless teams are scoring homeruns continuously, players rely on each other to build up the scores with tactical batting and clever running to bring home the points needed. Bases can be loaded, and a player can get pitched out on a last good ball. In the situation where two players are already out, it is the equivalent of missing an open goal - the tension palpable on numerous occasions. On any given Sunday there will be an upset; individuals can't win the game on their own.  Rounders relies on teamwork and split-second decisions are paramount to the success of the game.  

Clubs work their way up the ranks of the championships.  There have been four different winners in the mixed championship in the last five years.  The rules are simple, but they must be learned.  The skills on show can only be admired; placing a sliotar around nine defenders isn't as easy as it may appear. Batting is a skill in itself; to be able to place a size five sliotar at anything up to 50mph and still avoid someone catching it is an admirable feat.  Pitching is a mastercraft from twelve meters. Catching a sliotar overhead and covering forty meters of outfield space in seconds is difficult to say the least. Are there elite players? Of course there is! However, no one said it was going to be easy!


What gives rounders huge potential is that people are returning to the game after possibly being away from sporting activities, raising a family, work commitments, to name but a few. It is the most diverse game in Ireland, with codes like the mixed format becoming one of the most sought after to play in. It is unique, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons,  fathers and sons, or in last year's example, mother, father and son all celebrating in the winners enclosure on All-Ireland final weekend.  Fitting smoothly into every GAA club with minimal requirements to get it up and running.  

With livestreaming over the last few years it has never been more visible. The future is optimistic.  

Senior Mens Championship
Glynn Barntown
Cuchulainn Rounders
Ref: TBC
Club Grounds

Senior Mens Championship
Limekiln Rounders GAA
Michael Glaveys
Ref: TBC
Tymon Park, Dublin 12

Senior Mixed Championship
Limekiln Rounders GAA
Michael Glaveys
Ref: TBC
Tymon Park, Dublin 12

Inter Mens Fenagh Rounders 0 V 0 Dotsy Rounders
Senior Mens Carrickmacross Emmets 7 V 14 Erne Eagles
Senior Mens Cuchulainn Rounders 17 V 18 Breaffy GAA
Inter Mixed Fenagh Rounders 0 V 0 Na Fianna
Inter Mixed Raheen Rounders 12 V 6 Limekiln Rounders GAA
Inter Mixed Killmena GAA Club 37 V 12 Athenry Rounders
Senior Mixed Carrickmacross Emmets 7 V 8 Erne Eagles
Senior Mixed Cuchulainn Rounders 4 V 12 Breaffy GAA
Senior Mens Glynn Barntown 8 V 9 Limekiln Rounders GAA
Inter Mens Galway City Rapparees 11 V 18 Killmena GAA Club
Inter Ladies St Clares 14 V 6 Michael Glaveys
Senior Ladies Cuchulainn Rounders 3 V 10 Breaffy GAA
Inter Ladies Carrickmacross Emmets 5 V 16 The Heath
Senior Mixed Glynn Barntown 8 V 18 Limekiln Rounders GAA
Senior Ladies Glynn Barntown 7 V 12 Limekiln Rounders GAA
Inter Mixed St Clares 9 V 8 Erne Eagles
Inter Mens Raheen Rounders 0 V 0 Dotsy Rounders
Inter Ladies Michael Glaveys 6 V 27 The Heath
Senior Ladies Glynn Barntown 16 V 15 Erne Eagles
Inter Ladies Raheen Rounders 11 V 22 Glynn Barntown
Senior Mens Breaffy GAA 15 V 14 Carrickmacross Emmets
Inter Mixed Athenry Rounders 0 V 0 Na Piarsaigh
Senior Mixed Michael Glaveys 6 V 10 Kevins Hurling & Camogie Club.
Senior Mixed Glynn Barntown 11 V 13 Erne Eagles
Inter Mens Galway City Rapparees 0 V 0 Na Piarsaigh
Inter Mens Fenagh Rounders 20 V 14 Emo Rounders
Inter Mixed Raheen Rounders 26 V 8 Na Fianna
Senior Mixed Breaffy GAA 11 V 6 Carrickmacross Emmets
Senior Mens Glynn Barntown 5 V 30 Erne Eagles
Inter Mixed Fenagh Rounders 10 V 14 Emo Rounders
Inter Ladies Sporting Limerick 0 V 0 Carrickmacross Emmets