- Sport in Northern Ireland
Sport in Northern Ireland is important in the lives of many people. Some sports are organised on an all-Ireland basis, for example
Rugby Union, Gaelic football, Basketball, Hockeyand Cricketwhereas others, like association football, are organised on a separate basis for Northern Ireland. [ [http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines/display.var.2167174.0.How_do_other_sports_in_the_island_cope_with_the_situation.php How do other sports in the island cope with the situation?] The Herald, April 3, 2008]
Gaelic gamesinclude Gaelic football, hurling, Gaelic handballand rounders.
The governing body is the
Gaelic Athletic Association(GAA). The GAA is divided into Provincial Boards in Ireland and abroad. In Ireland, the four Provincial Boards are Munster GAA, Ulster GAA, Connacht GAAand Leinster GAA. By attendance figures, Gaelic football is Ireland's most popular sport, with attendances of well over 80,000 for the more prestigious fixtures. GAA in the six counties of Northern Ireland is controlled by the Ulster GAAProvincial Board, which includes all nine counties of Ulster. Football is by far the most popular of the GAA sports in Ireland, followed by hurling.
Every footballer or hurler plays for a local club, with the best players being selected for county panels. Each county has its own County Championship, with the winners going on to play in the
Ulster Senior Club Football Championshipor Ulster Senior Club Hurling Championship. Crossmaglen Rangersare currently the most successful football club in Northern Irelnad.
The County teams play in pre-season competitions the National Football League, which serves as preparation for the
Ulster Senior Football Championshipand All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. The hurling equivalents are the National Hurling League, Ulster Senior Hurling Championshipand All-Ireland Senior Hurling ChampionshipIn recent years, the most successful football teams from Northern Ireland have been Tyrone GAAand Armagh GAA. Hurling teams from Northern Ireland have found it difficult to make an impact against the top counties from the Republic, with Antrim GAAthe most successful.
County players may be selected for the Ulster provincial side to play in the
Railway Cup. At international level, footballers can play for the Ireland International Rules Footballteam against the best Australian Rules Footballplayers from Australia. Hurlers playing in the lower divisions of the All-Ireland championship are eligible to play against the best shintyplayers from Scotland in the Composite rules Shinty/Hurling.
Irish Football Association(IFA) is the organising body for football (soccer)in Northern Ireland, and had historically been the governing body for the whole of the island. It should not be confused with the Football Association of Ireland(FAI), which is the organising body in the Republic of Ireland.
The IFA sits on the
International Football Association Board, which is responsible for the laws of the game.
The Northern Ireland Women's Football Association (NIWFA) is the IFA's women's football arm. It runs a Women's Cup, Women's League and the
Northern Ireland women's national football team.
The domestic leagues is the
Irish Football League. Some of the major teams include Glentoran FCand Linfield FC. Derry City FC is based in Northern Ireland but plays in the Republic of Ireland's league.
Milk Cupis a successful international youth tournament held annually in Northern Ireland, in which clubs and national teams from anywhere in the world may compete. Northern Ireland also played host to the 2005 UEFAUnder-19 European Championships.
Setanta Sports Cupwas set up by its sponsors, television channel Setanta Ireland. It is an all-island mini-World Cup style tournament (two groups of four, then semis and final) featuring eight teams, four being from the League of Ireland and four from the Irish League. Despite fairly low turnouts for each jurisdictions leagues, the Setanta Cup drew relatively successful gate receipts and in its three-year existence has had one winner from the North (Linfield in 2005).
Northern Ireland's international team, despite a poor run of form in the late 1990s and first few years of the 21st century, and a corresponding slump in the
FIFA World Rankings, enjoyed great success in the early and mid 80's and recently have had a revival in their fortunes under manager former Lawrie Sanchez, with home wins over Spain and England.
Most of the players come from the English or Scottish leagues although occasional appearances of Irish League players have been known.
Rugby unionis a popular team sport played in Ireland. The sport is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Irelandand Northern Ireland.
Irish Rugby Football Unionare the governing body for rugby union in Ireland. The IRFU is divided into four branches which represent the four provinces of Ireland: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht.
Irish rugby union system
Irish provinces compete in the Celtic League, now sponsored by
Magners, against Welsh regions and Scotland super-districts. The Irish provinces also compete in the Heineken Cupand Connacht compete in the European Challenge Cup.
Another focus for the domestic game in Ireland is the All Ireland League. This was started in 1990 and has now expanded to three divisions.
According to the IRB Ireland has 201 rugby union clubs; 614 referees; 25,000 pre-teen male players; 35,000 teen male players; 14,500 senior male players (total male players 74,500) as well as 10,000 pre-teen female players; 800 teen female players; 1,200 senior female players (total female players 12,000). The
IRFU[http://www.irishrugby.ie/images/content/theirfu/5549_-_IRFU_Annual_RepWEB.pdf Annual Report for season 2006-2007] reported playing figures within Ireland as follows:
*Adult Male Players: 21740
*Women Players: 1756
*Number of Secondary Schools Players: 23586
*Number of Youth Players: 12472
*Number of Mini Rugby Players: 10967
*Primary School: 32209
*TOTAL PLAYERS: 100974
Northern Irelandrugby union has traditionally been seen as a unionistsport with nationalistspreferring to play Gaelic Athletic Associationsports.
In many ways secondary schools are the heart of
rugby unionin Ireland. Notable rugby union schools include Crescent College, Christian Brothers College, Cork, Presentation Brothers College, Cork, St. Conleth's College, Rockwell College, Clongowes Wood College, Belvedere College, Blackrock College, Mount Temple, St. Michael's College, Terenure College Castleknock Collegealso Garbally College, The Jez, Marist College and Sligo Grammar from Connacht and the Belfast giants Campbell college, the Royal Belfast Academical Institutionand Methodist College Belfast.
The professional era and the advent of the Celtic League and
Heineken Cuphas seen rugby unionbecome a major spectator sportin Ireland. European Cup games are generally well supported in all the provinces with sell outs the norm and massive crowds in Dublin's Lansdowne Roadfor the Quarter and Semis which Ulster have won and Munsterand Leinsterhave reached. Ulsterhave led the Celtic League attendances for 3 years in the row and Connacht, Munster and Leinster's crowds have grown year on year. All the provinces are planning major ground upgrades to increase capacity and comfort. Irelandinternational games sell out against all but the weakest opposition, and with the team playing at Croke Parkthis year the attendances may reach 80,000.
The All-Ireland national team
Ireland contest the
Millennium Trophywith England as part of the Six Nations Championship.
Every four years the
British and Irish Lionsgo on tour with players from Irelandas well as England, Scotlandand Wales.
Sport in Ireland
Sport in the United Kingdom
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Northern Ireland — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Northern Ireland (disambiguation). Northern Ireland Tuaisceart Éireann Norlin Airlann … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland national football team — Northern Ireland Nickname(s) Green and White Army, Norn Iron Association Irish Football Association Confederation UE … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland national netball team — Northern Ireland Association Netball Northern Ireland Confederation FENA (Europe) Head coach Elaine Rice Captain Noleen Lennon … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland men's national volleyball team — Northern Ireland Association The Northern Ireland Volleyball Association Confederation CEV Manager Paddy Murphy Head coach … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games — Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games : Flag of Northern Ireland CGF Code = NIR … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland Office — Northern Ireland This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Northern Ireland … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association — or NIBSA is the national governing body for Snooker and Billiards in Northern Ireland, appointed by the Sports Council for Northern Ireland, Sport NI. The aims of the association are to develop and promote the sport at grass roots level in… … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games — Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games : Flag of Northern Ireland CGF Code = NIR … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland women's national football team — Northern Ireland Association Irish Football Association Confederation UEFA (Europe) FIFA code … Wikipedia
Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee — Northern Ireland This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Northern Ireland … Wikipedia