Structure of the Gaelic Athletic Association

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The structure of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is a voluntary, democratic association consisting of various boards, councils, and committees organised in a structured hierarchy. The individual club is the basic unit of the association, [1] [2] [3] [4] and the world headquarters are at Croke Park. All of the GAA's activities are governed by a book called the Official Guide.


County boards

Each county board may have its own by-laws, none of which may conflict with the Official Guide. Each divisional board may have its own regulations, none of which may duplicate or contradict the Official Guide or county by-laws.

Congress is an annual meeting of all the GAA county boards and provincial councils. It is here that changes to the Official Guide can be made. Central Council is a committee consisting of representatives of county boards and senior management at Croke Park. In Ireland there are four provincial councils, and there are some overseas units that fit into the same level, such as the British Provincial Council. In Ireland there are 32 county boards, and again there are overseas units that fit into this level, such as the New York Board and the Canadian Board.

With the exception of Central Council, all of these councils, boards, and committees are elected at an annual meeting at which the outgoing board reports on its year's activities before stepping down and the election of the incoming board taking place. [5]

Higher Education GAA

The Higher Education GAA fulfills a similar role as the county board in competitions in which educational institutions such as University College Dublin (UCD) field teams. Some institutions (such as UCD) are also considered clubs by the county board and so fall under the two jurisdictions.

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GAA Congress is the supreme legislative body of the Gaelic Athletic Association (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, [ˈkʊmˠən̪ˠ ˈl̪ˠuh.xlʲæsˠ ɡeːl̪ˠ], commonly known by its acronymic, the GAA. The GAA is the international governing body of Gaelic games such as football and hurling. The congress may be annual or special.

Athletics Ireland, officially the Athletics Association of Ireland or AAI, is the governing body for athletics in Ireland, with athletics defined as including track and field athletics, road running, race walking, cross country running, mountain running and ultra distance running. The organisation's jurisdiction covers the whole island of Ireland and it is affiliated to the International Association of Athletic Federations. Its remit is to promote athletics from recreational running, schools competitions and to support elite athletes in international competitions.

Combined Universities GAA was a Gaelic football and hurling team that was made up of players from the major universities of Ireland. The players were taken from St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Queens University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, and University College Galway. In the 1980s Combined Advanced Colleges GAA joined in to make the annual contests between Combined Universities, Army and Garda a quadrangular tournament.

Noel Walsh was an Irish Gaelic footballer, administrator, selector, manager and member of the Defence Forces. As a selector and manager, he worked with the Clare county team. As a provincial administrator he was pivotal in establishing an open draw in the Munster Senior Football Championship. As a national administrator he was pivotal in the overturning of the Gaelic Athletic Association's Rule 42, the introduction of the All-Ireland Qualifiers and the spread of floodlights to club and county grounds. At his death he was remembered locally and nationally as one of the sport's most progressive administrators. He was often referred to as "Mr Clare Football".


  1. "1.9 Units/Jurisdiction. The Association is a democratic organisation comprising the following units: (a) Clubs (b) County Committees (c) Provincial Councils (d) Central Council (e) Annual CongressOfficial Guide 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  2. "Reaching out beyond the pitch - "For that is what the GAA continues to be, a garrulous and driven social phenomenon. The club is the basic unit. "". Irish Times. 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
  3. "Divisional conventions have their say - "Stating that the Club must remain the basic unit of the Association, the loyalty of club members must be of paramount importance, the Secretary also asks the members of the various county teams to equally play their in the promotion of the aims and ideals of the G.A.A."". Munster Express. 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
  4. "Ladies crowned league champions - "The club is the basic unit of the GAA. It is to the Association what the family is to society."". Roscommon Herald. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
  5. "Online Betting Sites". Sunday, 27 June 2021