About Us

We are Wellington/Hutt Valley Gaelic Football & Hurling Association. Our mission is to become New Zealand’s leading Irish cultural and sporting body and we are well on the way to achieving this goal.  When New Zealanders and ex-pats think of sporting success, cultural enjoyment and a ‘can-do’ attitude to life, they think of Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA.
We will achieve this goal through playing with, working with and having fun with our core family of players, administrators, sponsors and supporters.

Our Committee

Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA’s growth is led by our Committee members whose core focus is to:

  • Deliver team success on the field.
  • Grow Kiwi and ex-pat participation in the games and social events of the club.
  • Provide a stable financial and operational foundation for the two objectives above.


Picture of our 2020/21 Committee

Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA Committee 2020/21. Back row (L-R): John ‘Bobs’ Daly, Davey Rynne, Enda Costello, Kate McCarthy, Tiaré Verenitani, Bryan ‘Badger’ Downes. Front row (L-R): Ronan O’Malley, Denise Durkin, Damien Farrelly, Ken Lee.

Committee roles and contact information


Denise Durkin


Vice President

Enda Costello



Ken Lee



Damien Farrelly


Public Relations Officer

John ‘Bobs’ Daly


Events Manager

Ronan O’Malley


Tournament Manager

Kate McCarthy


Development/Cultural Officer

Bryan ‘Badger’ Downes


Youth Officer

David Rynne


Committee support

Tiaré Verenitani


Our Teams

Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA has teams in men’s and women’s football, hurling and camogie. We compete in the following competitions:


National Feis — seven-a-side tournament held in October each year over Labour Day weekend.

New Zealand Championships — held in March each year.

There are various other tournaments and test matches held throughout the year that Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA compete in:


Australasian Games: held in late September/early October each year. Teams from Australia and New Zealand compete against each other. This is the highlight of the 15-a-side calendar each year.

We have also sent teams to the Melbourne Pearses Sevens which is held each February. In 2020 we sent a combined Wellington/Canterbury/Queenstown team to this prestigious tournament.

Social Gaelic Football
From early November through to mid December, and again from January to March we run social mixed team leagues which has relaxed rules around ball handling and less physicality in the tackle. Intent is to make the game more accessible for those new to Gaelic Games.

If you are interested in joining any of the teams above or indeed just want to meet a few sporty and social types, email us at secretary@wellingtongaa.com and we’ll have you up and running in no time.

Never played before, can I still join?

Yes, we are an inclusive bunch and we love nothing more than teaching people about our beloved national games.

I've played before, can I join?

Absolutely. We’re always on the lookout for new players.

I want to try out but don't want to commit?

No problem. You can drop a message with the contact form here, or just show up a bit early before a socials game and let us know. You’ll also need to bring your gear along. We have changing facilities available.

What gear do I need?

The optimum gear to use would be a light t-shirt or jersey, shorts and preferably football boots, but trainers are fine also. If joining a team, don’t forget to find out their team colours for your t-shirt.

Can I join a friend's team?

Just let us know what team you wish to join or ask your friend to contact their captain.

I don't know anyone, what team can I join?

Sure thing, let us know what skill level you feel comfortable at and we can place you in a team which is a perfect fit for you.

What is the social side outside of sport like?

Aside from the football and hurling games each Wednesday of the season, we also have a host of extra activities. In the past these have ranged from pub crawls, Wellington Cup day at the races, dinner balls, marathons, quiz nights and going out to grab a few pints. We also have tournaments all over New Zealand from Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch and you can join us to cheer from the sidelines if you like.

Can I watch to see what it is like?

Yep, come along to Ian Galloway Park when we are playing to see what the game is like. If you think it might be something for you, let us know and we can find you a place on our teams.

What is the difference between Social Gaelic Football membership and club membership?

The membership fee for Social Gaelic Football is $30 which covers you for playing a single season. The club membership is $130 and covers you for the two social seasons that year, as well as the fees for training courses, playing in tournaments, many social events.

Where is the games played?

Ian Galloway Park, Curtis St, Wilton, Northland 6012

What is GAA?

Playing field

A Gaelic football pitch is similar in some respects to a rugby pitch but considerably larger. The grass pitch is rectangular, stretching 130–145 metres long and 80–90 metres wide. There are H-shaped goalposts at each end with a net on the bottom section. The same pitch is used for hurling; the GAA, which organizes both sports, decided this to facilitate dual usage. Lines are marked at distances of 13 m, 20m and 45 m from each end-line. Shorter pitches and smaller goals are used under-12s.


All football matches last for 60 minutes, divided into two halves of thirty minutes, with the exception of senior inter-county games which last for 70 minutes (two halves of 35 minutes). Draws are decided by replays or by playing 20 minutes of extra time (two halves of 10 minutes). The under 12s have a half of 20 minutes or 25 minutes in some cases.


Teams consist of fifteen players (a goalkeeper, two corner backs, a full back, three half backs, two mid fielders, three half forwards, two corner forwards and a full forward) plus up to fifteen substitutes, of which five may be used. Each player is numbered 1–15, starting with the goalkeeper, who must wear a different coloured jersey to the other team.


The game is played with a round leather football, similar to a soccer ball, but heavier, and with horizontal stitching rather than the hexagon and pentagon panels often used on soccer balls, and similar in appearance to a standard volleyball. It may be kicked or hand passed. A hand pass is not a punch but rather a strike of the ball with the side of the closed fist, using the knuckle of the thumb.

The following are considered technical fouls (“fouling the ball”):

* Picking the ball directly off the ground (It must be scooped up into the hands by the foot). However, in ladies’ Gaelic football, the ball may be picked up directly.
* Throwing the ball (It may be “hand-passed” by striking with the fist or open hand)
* Going four steps without releasing, bouncing or soloing the ball. (Soloing involves kicking the ball into one’s own hands)[3]
* Bouncing the ball twice in a row (It may be soloed continuously)
* Hand passing the ball over an opponent’s head, then running around him to catch it
* Hand passing a goal (the ball may be punched into the goal from up in the air, however)
* Square ball, an often controversial rule: If, at the moment the ball enters the small rectangle, there is already an attacking player inside the small rectangle, then a free out is awarded.
* Changing hands: Throwing the ball from your right-hand to left or vice-versa.


If the ball goes over the crossbar, a point is scored and a white flag is raised by an umpire. If the ball goes below the crossbar, a goal, worth three points, is scored, and a green flag is raised by an umpire. The goal is guarded by a goalkeeper. Scores are recorded in the format {goal total}-{point total}.


The level of tackling allowed is more robust than in association football (soccer), but less than rugby. The tackling rule has been criticised for being too vague.[citation needed]

Shoulder charging and slapping the ball out of an opponent’s hand is permitted, but the following are all fouls:

* Using both hands to tackle
* Pushing an opponent
* Striking an opponent
* Pulling an opponent’s jersey
* Blocking a shot with the foot
* Sliding tackles
* Tripping
* Touching the goalkeeper when he is inside the small rectangle
* Wrestling the ball from an opponent’s hands

Restarting play

* a match begins with the referee throwing the ball up between the four mid fielders.
* After an attacker has put the ball wide of the goals, the goalkeeper may take a kick out from the ground at the edge of the small square. All players must be beyond the 20 m line.
* After an attacker has scored, the goalkeeper may take a kick out from the ground from the 20 m line. All players must be beyond the 20 m line and outside the semicircle.
* After a defender has put the ball wide of the goals, an attacker may take a “45” from the ground on the 45 m line level with where the ball went wide.
* After a player has put the ball over the sideline, the other team may take a sideline kick at the point where the ball left the pitch. It may be kicked from the ground or the hands.
* After a player has committed a foul, the other team may take a free kick at the point where the foul was committed. It may be kicked from the ground or the hands.
* After a defender has committed a foul inside the large rectangle, the other team may take a penalty kick from the ground from the center of the 13 m line. Only the goalkeeper may guard the goals.
* If many players are struggling for the ball and it is not clear who was fouled first, the referee may choose to throw the ball up between two opposing players.


A football match is overseen by eight officials:

* The referee
* Two linesmen
* Sideline official/Standby linesman (inter-county games only)
* Four umpires (two at each end)

The referee is responsible for starting and stopping play, recording the score, awarding frees and booking and sending off players.

Linesmen are responsible for indicating the direction of line balls to the referee.

The fourth official is responsible for overseeing substitutions, and also indicating the amount of stoppage time (signaled to him by the referee) and the players substituted using an electronic board.

The umpires are responsible for judging the scoring. They indicate to the referee whether a shot was: wide (spread both arms), a 45 m kick (raise one arm), a point (wave white flag), square ball (cross arms) or a goal (wave green flag).

Contrary to popular belief within the association, all officials are not obliged to indicate “any misdemeanours” to the referee, but are in fact only permitted to inform the referee of violent conduct they have witnessed which has occurred without the referees knowledge. A linesman/umpire is not permitted to inform the referee of technical fouls such as a “double bounce” or an illegal pick up of the ball. Such decisions can only be made at the discretion of the referee.

Gaelic Football on You Tube

If you’re interested in more information on Gaelic Games from its beginnings, scoring history and rules, have a look at the videos from YouTube below

What is Gaelic Football – Part 1

What is Gaelic Football – Part 2

What is Gaelic Football – Part 3


Gaelic football is one of the world’s oldest games. It is one of the most played games in Ireland and is also commonly played in other countries[citation needed]. One of the first records of football in Ireland comes from 1308, when John McCrocan, a spectator at a football game at Newcastle, County Dublin was charged with accidentally stabbing a player named William Bernard.

The Statute of Galway of 1527 allowed the playing of “foot balle” and archery but banned “‘hokie’ [sic] — the hurling of a little ball with sticks or staves” as well as other sports.

The earliest record of a recognized precursor to modern Gaelic football date from a game in County Meath in 1670, in which catching and kicking the ball was permitted.

However even “foot-ball” was banned by the severe Sunday Observance Act of 1695, which imposed a fine of one shilling (a substantial amount at the time) for those caught playing sports. It proved difficult, if not impossible, for the authorities to enforce the Act and the earliest recorded inter-county match in Ireland was one between Louth and Meath, at Slane, in 1712.

A six-a-side version was played in Dublin in the early 18th century, and 100 years later there were accounts of games played between County sides (Prior, 1997).

By the early 19th century, various football games, referred to collectively as caid, were popular in Kerry, especially the Dingle Peninsula. Father W. Ferris described two forms of caid: the “field game” in which the object was to put the ball through arch-like goals, formed from the boughs of two trees, and; the epic “cross-country game” which lasted the whole of a Sunday (after mass) and was won by taking the ball across a parish boundary. “Wrestling”, “holding” opposing players, and carrying the ball were all allowed.

By the 17th century, the situation had changed considerably. The games had grown in popularity and were widely played. This was due to the patronage of the gentry. Now instead of opposing the games it was the gentry and the ruling class who were serving as patrons of the games. Games were organized between landlords with each team comprising 20 or more tenants. Wagers were commonplace with purses of up to 100 guineas an old unit of currency (Prior, 1997).

During the 1860s and 1870s, Rugby and Association football started to become popular in Ireland. Trinity College, Dublin was an early stronghold of Rugby, and the rules of the English Football Association were codified in 1863 and distributed widely. By this time, according to Gaelic football historian Jack Mahon, even in the Irish countryside, caid had begun to give way to a “rough-and-tumble game” which even allowed tripping.

Limerick was the stronghold of the native game around this time, and the Commercials Club, founded by employees of Cannock’s Drappery Store, was one of the first to impose a set of rules which was adapted by other clubs in the city. Of all the Irish pastimes the GAA set out to preserve and promote, it is fair to say that Gaelic football was in the worst shape at the time of the association’s foundation (GAA Museum, 2001). [5]

Irish forms of football were not formally arranged into an organised playing code by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) until 1887. The GAA sought to promote traditional Irish sports, such as hurling and to reject “foreign” (particularly English) imports. The first Gaelic football rules, showing the influence of hurling and a desire to differentiate from association football — for example in their lack of an offside rule — were drawn up by Maurice Davin and published in the United Ireland magazine on February 7, 1887. The rules of the aforementioned Commercials Club became the basis for these official (Gaelic Football) rules who, unsurprisingly, won the inaugural All-Ireland Senior Football Final (representing County Limerick) [6]

On Bloody Sunday in 1920, during the Anglo-Irish War, a football match at Croke Park was attacked by British forces. 14 people were killed and 65 were injured.

Ladies’ Gaelic football has become increasingly popular with women since the 1970s.

The relationship between Gaelic football and Australian rules football and the question of whether they have shared origins is a matter of historical controversy. Games are held between an Irish representative team and an Australian team, under compromise rules known as International rules football.

Check out the Wellington/Hutt Valley GFHA Store for some of the latest merchandise