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Rules of the Game

Ladies Football is a field sport played by women, mainly in Ireland, but also in England, continental Europe, Australia, Canada and America. It is essentially the same as Gaelic football, which is an Irish game played my men, and differs only slightly in its rules, with a view to eliminating unnecessary physical contact and in general speeding up the game. It is played at all age levels from U10 to Senior and has competitions at school, college, club, barony and county levels in Ireland. The sport is controlled and regulated in Ireland by Cumann Peile Gael na mBann, who's chief concerns are in organising and running competitions from school, right through to inter-county level. They are also involved in formulating the rules by which the game is to be played (see Game Rules), and in publicising and promoting the game particularly at school level.

Each team contains fifteen players - a goalkeeper, six backs, two midfielders and six forwards. A match lasts 60 minutes with 30 minutes in each half and the game itself is best described as a cross between rugby and soccer. Players are allowed to use their hands to pickup, catch and carry the ball, but to carry the ball further than a distance of four steps, the skill of soloing the ball is used. Soloing involves alternating between bouncing the ball and kicking the ball from toe to hand. Players may pass the ball by kicking or "fisting" it. The goalposts are similar to those in rugby and scores come in two forms - goals and points. Points are more common and are scored when a team manages to kick, fist or palm the ball, over the opposing crossbar, and between the posts. Goals are worth three points, and are scored when a team kick or palm the ball, under the crossbar, and between the posts.

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Gaelic Football Field

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Although it is a physical game, ladies football is unlike rugby in that players are not allowed to bring the ball into their possession while in a kneeling, sitting or lying position. This rule succeeds in confining physical tussles to when the ball is being won. When played well, ladies football is an entertaining, free flowing game. When played badly it is a physical, scrappy contest with few scores.


Difference in Rules
The following points outline the main differences between ladies Gaelic football and men's Gaelic football.