8 team sports worth a go
Not taken by the obvious options? Here’s a selection of lesser-known sports you can get stuck into
In Ireland, we’re great at sports. That’s not being patronising, we really are! For size of population, we consistently punch above our weight in pursuits such as rugby, golf and soccer, not to mention the enthusiasm for our most popular national sports.
That said, for people not so smitten with our more popular sporting endeavours, it can be difficult finding the activity that’s just right for you. Maybe you’re looking for a different challenge, want to get out and get some exercise, or would love to make some new mates. Well, we’re here to offer a helping hand. Take a look through our top eight minority team sports to see what tickles your fancy.
1. Ultimate Frisbee
This sport is super enjoyable and the rules are simple enough to follow. It’s been around since the 1960s, but it’s increasingly popular in recent years. You don’t need an athletic background, and can be picked up by people of any fitness levels. Lots of colleges and universities now have an Ultimate Frisbee club on campus.
2. Roller Derby
Roller Derby is fast-paced and incredibly exciting. It’s a team sport, played indoors on roller-skates. There are new leagues and clubs popping up all over Ireland. There is a great sense of community associated with Roller Derby, so it’s a brilliant way to meet people and an excellent way to get fit.
Volleyball is often associated with the beach, but actually, you can play it in loads of places, including rainy Ireland! It’s usually played by two teams of six players. You can play it indoors or outdoors, so it’s suitable for all weather conditions.
4. Olympic handball
Like football, except with your hands, right..? Well, nearly. Olympic handball is played on indoor courts measuring 40m by 20m, with seven players on each team. It’s a bit more like basketball, except without the hoop. Players attempt to throw the ball past the ‘keeper in goals, but no-one is allowed to enter the 6m semi-circular exclusion zone around each goal, and you can only take three steps with the ball before dribbling or passing.
Playing Olympic handball requires extreme athleticism, and although it’s not huge in Ireland, the sport has a massive and very fervent following across mainland Europe in particular.
5. American football
It’s taken the best part of a century, but American football is finally starting to make a real impression on this side of the Atlantic. Indeed, the Irish American Football Association is currently undergoing a surge in popularity, with teams now hailing from counties like Kildare, Louth and Westmeath as well as more traditional centres of interest like Dublin, Galway and Cork.
Pictured: American football's really starting to get going in Ireland. Image by Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com
The best thing about the sport is its inclusiveness- there’s a position on the field for prettymuch every body type, and teams love to see new recruits signing up. Not too keen on repeated heavy hits? Then there’s also flag football, which is the non-contact equivalent.
6. Field hockey
Love hitting a ball with a stick, but don’t have much time for all the rough-and-tumble of hurling? Why not give hockey a try! There are loads of clubs dotted around the country, especially throughout Dublin, and new members are always made really welcome. It’s also a game that’s on the up here, with the Irish women’s team in particular excelling over recent years.
Quite literally football’s little cousin: the teams are smaller, as are the goals, the field, and the ball. Given its origins in South America during the 1920s, futsal is a uniquely skilful game that requires fast feet and equally quick wit. If you love playing five-a-side with your mates and would like to bring a competitive element to your game, this is definitely worth a shot.
Pictured: Futsal is a hugely skillful game that's quite recent to Ireland. muzsy / Shutterstock.com
8. Sevens rugby
Warning; this one’s not for the faint of heart! Played on a full-sized rugby pitch, sevens rugby is a physically demanding, fast-paced version of rugby union. More suited to those with an athletic background of some description, halves are just seven minutes long to compensate for the relentless, stamina-draining nature of the sport.
If you can run like the wind, but don’t fancy the more physically-orientated aspects of a conventional rugby game, this could be the thing for you.