Caid (sport)

Caid (sport)

"Caid" (IPAEng|kadʲ) is the name given to various ancient and traditional Irish football games. "Caid" is now used by some people to refer to modern Gaelic football.

The word "caid" originally referred to the ball which was used. It was made out of animal skin, with a natural bladder inside.

"Caid" is believed to have influenced the modern sport of Gaelic football the rules of which were officially published in 1887 and is now organized and governed by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) as an amateur sport. However, modern Gaelic football bears little resemblance to "caid",Fact|date=February 2007 and has arguably been influenced more by the game of hurling, from which it adopted its pitch and posts.

The first recorded mention of football in Ireland was in 1308, when John McCrocan, a spectator at a football game at Newcastle, Down was charged with accidentally stabbing a player named William Bernard. Football games are mentioned in the "Statute of Galway", 1527, which allowed the playing of football and archery, but banned "'hokie' — the hurling of a little ball with sticks or staves", as well as other sports. The "Sunday Observance Act" of 1695 imposed a fine of one shilling for anyone found playing. Despite this, the earliest recorded football match in Ireland was one between Louth and Meath, at Slane, in 1712.

"Caid" was especially popular in rural areas, such as the Dingle Peninsula of Kerry [Thesis – “Traditional game of Caid”, Father W. Ferris of Glenflesk, Killarney, Ireland] and Eigeeen in west Cork. (Some people in Kerry still use the word "caid" to refer to modern Gaelic football.) One observer in the mid-19th century, Father W. Ferris, described two main forms of "caid" during this period: 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 took up most of the daylight hours of a Sunday on which it was played, and was won by one team taking the ball across a parish boundary. Both of these were rough and tumble contact sports in which "wrestling", pushing and the holding of opposing players was allowed. It was usually played by teams of unlimited numbers, representing communities, until a clear result was achieved or the players became too exhausted to continue.

These games appears to have been similar to the traditional Welsh game of "cnapan", which was played by teams of up to 1,000 men from adjacent parishes. "Cnapan", however, was played with a hard ball and thus involved no kicking; it was strictly a game in which the ball was passed or smuggled from one player to another, with the object of getting it to the opposing team's parish church porch or to some other agreed destination. Variations of "cnapan" are still played in Cornwall on religious festivals such as Shrove Tuesday.

There is some evidence that "caid" was taken around the world by the Irish diaspora. Some historical theories also claim that the Origins of Australian rules football are in caid and that there is a Relationship between Gaelic football and Australian rules football. However these theories, mostly supported by Irish historians are controversial and generally lacking in historical evidence.

By the late 19th century, "caid" was in steep decline and was threatened with extinction, spurring the formation of the GAA.

Further Reading

Gaelic Football
Relationship between Gaelic football and Australian rules football
Origins of Australian rules football


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