We tested it for you in Vannes: Gaelic football, a sport that redefines boundaries

The Gwened Vannes club organizes training sessions every Tuesday at the Foso stadium © Solenn Ravenel

“Football with the hands”, “mixed between football, rugby and a little handball”, there are many definitions to explain this sport. But how is it really played? News Morbihan participated in training Gwened Vannes Gaelic football.

Complex rules

To understand the rules of a sport, it is always better to try it. In Vannes, a fifty amateurs trains twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays. Gaelic football is played with a ball that lies between a volleyball and a football. It is slightly heavier than a football and smaller.

Gaelic football: a mix between a football and a volleyball.  It is smaller and heavier than a soccer ball
Gaelic football: a mix between a football and a volleyball. It is smaller and heavier than a football © Solenn Ravenel

In Ireland and France the rules are not necessarily identical. In France we generally play 11 against 11 or 9 against 9 depending on competitions. We play on a football or rugby field. You will need a football goal with nets and posts, such as rugby posts (see below

American Football Goals: Elevated Soccer Goals With Posts
Gaelic Football Goals: A raised football goal with posts. In Vannes, players use American football posts. © Solenn Ravenel

To move around the field, you can: run with the ball in these handswe can do 4 stepsthen you can do the following:

  • a dribble,

  • a solo: drop the ball on his foot before he gets it back,

  • or a pass, which looks like a volleyball cuff.

The object of the game is to score. To score, you either score into the soccer goal (protected by a goalkeeper), which is 3 points, or between the posts, that is one point.

Adèle, player at the Gwened Vannes club

A sport that redefines boundaries

Gaelic football has a peculiarity of size: during international competitions, the teams do not represent the countries. Brittany therefore has its own team, unlike the French team. Adele was part of 2019 from the team of Brittany at the World Cup in Ireland.

What is rather special about this sport is that the teams do not correspond to the countries. For example, at the world championships there were cities like New York, regions like Brittany, countries and even continents (Asia). Since there are few licensees compared to other sports, everything is done so that the licensees can play, we adapt to the number of licensees.

Adèle, player at the Gwened Vannes club

The next European Championships this year will take place in Galicia with an expected match: the France against Brittany.

Gwened Vannes, one of the best Breton clubs

The Vannes club is one of the best Breton clubs with two men’s teams: one in the first division and one in the second division. With the ladies, the girls form a team with the Clubs Lorient, Brest and Saint-Brieuc† The toucans – club mascot – also have a young team (from 7 years), quite rare in the clubs of the region. The club is good for approx 70 licensees, 50 for adults and about twenty for youth† A number of permit holders who have been stagnant in recent years due to the covid.

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At the end of the year, despite the high temperatures, about twenty people followed a mixed training. But how did the players discover the sport?

I discovered this sport in Ireland when I lived there. I became interested in Gaelic sport as part of my heritage studies. Back in France I thought it was still a chance to really test. I played in Nantes for a few months, then I arrived in Vannes.

Player at Gwened Vannes

Another player discovered the sport during the association fair Vannes, a former rugby player. He thought about returning to rugby as a hobby. The Vannetais finally fell into the pot with Gaelic football

I came to try it for the first time, I liked it right away.

Player at Gwened Vannes
The Gwened Vannes club organizes training sessions every Tuesday at the Foso stadium
Gwened Vannes’ club organizes training sessions every Tuesday at the Foso stadium. © Solenn Ravenel

A club full of projects

The club has many more projects in mind for next year:

We always try to organize a Brittany Championship round for adults. For example, this year we organized a European youth competition for young people. For adults, we would like to be linked to a club in Ireland to organize exchanges. It’s more of a long-term project.

Adèle, player at the Gwened Vannes club

The cozy club, whose emblem is the . is Guinness toucanwill be happy to welcome you during their training.

Training sessions Tuesday 20:15 – 22:30 in the Foso stadium and Thursday 19:45 – 21:15 in the rugby stadium in the association hall. For children, training takes place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the rugby stadium on the grounds of the Maison des Associations. More information

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