Football and hurling pitches are big, but did you ever wonder exactly how long a GAA pitch is?
Well, there’s no exact answer as most pitches vary in size but generally – and officially – the field of play has to be between 130m-145m long and 80m-90m wide.
In comparison to other field sports, the pitch in Croke Park is nearly twice the size of a conventional soccer pitch at 15,000m2 – covering 145m by 88m wide.
However, not all pitches are that size with most fluctuating between the regulations, often on a game-by-game basis too.
We’ll explain further down.
How long is a GAA Pitch – the layout
The field of play, or pitch, should be rectangular and measure between 80 and 90 meters in width and 130 to 145 meters in length. For younger players, it can be lowered.
At 13 meters, 20 meters, and 45 meters from each end line, a set of lines are drawn across the pitch.
For hurling, a second marking is made at 65 meters.
On the sidelines, flags are used to denote these lines as well.
A 10 m long line that runs parallel to the end lines is also present in the centre of the pitch.
Each goal has two rectangles delineated in front of it.
The larger one is 19m by 13m, while the smaller one measures 14m by 4.5m.
The 20-meter line is marked with a semicircle in the middle, and the area where substitutions must be performed is designated 5 meters on either side of the center line.
The entire ball must cross the perimeter line before it is deemed out of play because all lines are a part of the region they define.
The goal is 6.5 meters wide and 2.5 meters high, and the posts should rise at least 7 meters to form an H.
Are all GAA Pitches the same size?
No they are not and getting definitive answers can be difficult.
Often a pitch is perceived as being a ‘smaller pitch’ when in fact the official size would suggest different.
How it looks on the eye, the size of the sideline and its surroundings such as stands often influence how big or tight the pitch is perceived.
Plus, we all know instances of crafty managements and groundsmen tightening the pitch size to try and influence the opposing team or shut them down!
In terms of well-known county grounds, the ones in which claim to use the full space are Cusack Park, Ennis; MacCumhail Park, Donegal; Pearse Stadium, Galway; O’Connor Park, Offaly; Semple Stadium in Tipp; and Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon.
The tightest inter-county grounds include St Conleth’s Park, Kildare with measures only 135m x 80m.
But again, the layout of the ground often makes a pitch look bigger or smaller.
If the stands and terraces are closer to the pitch and the crowds are big, the atmosphere will make the pitch seem even smaller and condensed.
While a large empty stadium make a pitch look huge on TV, which is often the case with Croke Park which looks gigantic due to the camera positioning.
Want to know how long a GAA match is? This blog will tell you.
If you’d like to know more about the GAA, why not check out our blog about what the GAA means right HERE.
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