Handball GAA Betting

Original banner featuring a hand and a ball and ball next to logo of the GAA Handball

When most people talk about handball, they’re referring to the team sport widely played in Scandanavia and once enjoyed by former Danish soccer international and Manchester shot-stopper Peter Schmeichel.

However, Gaelic Handball is a completely different entity, and one that has more in common with indoor sports such as squash or racketball.

One of the five traditional Irish sports governed and regulated by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), handball remains incredibly popular among both fans and bettors alike on the Emerald Isle.

In this guide, we’ll explore Gaelic Handball in further detail, while appraising some of the major championships that take place on an annual basis.

Best Galeic Handball Betting Sites by Category

🥇 Best GAA Handball Betting Site:

BoyleSports

🎁 Best Free Bet Offer:

William Hill

📡 Best GAA Handball Live Betting Site:

Ladbrokes

💯 Best GAA Handball Enhanced Odds Betting Site:

888 Sport

What are the Best Sportsbooks for Gaelic Handball?

Before we delve into the Gaelic Handball schedule and offer up some all-important betting tips, you’ll need to understand where you can wager on this unique sport.

Below, we’ve shortlisted our most popular Gaelic Handball sportsbooks, while asking what sets them apart from their rivals.

BoyleSports

Logo of Boylesports chosen as the best bookmaker to bet on GAA handball next to an image of handball players playing in a court

Incredibly, BoyleSports offers access to 40 separate sports betting markets, making it one of the most comprehensive wagering platforms in both the UK and Ireland.

This includes a huge number of GAA markets, with handball represented alongside Gaelic football and hurling.

If you do choose to register for an account with BoyleSports and complete an initial deposit of €10 or more, you’ll also qualify for a €20 free bet. This is subject to wagering requirements that must be met within 30 days of the bet being placed, while the free wager should also be placed on outcomes with odds of 2.00 or higher.

Ladbrokes

Logo of Ladbrokes chosen as the best bookmaker for GAA Handball live betting site next to  players in action

Ladbrokes has the largest selection of sports betting markets on which to wager, with around 38 disciplines currently available to punters.

This includes all five major GAA sports, including Gaelic Handball and the annual Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship (which is the sport’s blue-chip competition).

As a new player at Ladbrokes, you can qualify for a €20 welcome offer upon registration, with this comprising four, €5 wagers that must be placed on selections with odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater. However, there are no wagering requirements in play here, so you’ll get to bank optimal returns if your initial wagers come in.

William Hill

Logo of William Hill chosen as the best bookmaker for GAA handball free bets next to an image of handball players in action

While William Hill offers fewer sports betting markets overall (there are 31 in total), it does offer particularly broad coverage of GAA sports such as hurling and Gaelic Handball.

Once again, this sportsbook also provides coverage of the coveted Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship, while it’s a great place to seek out competitive odds.

With William Hill, you can access a welcome offer worth €30, in the form of two separate €15 wagers that are awarded after you’ve placed a qualifying bet worth €5 or more. The same maximum odds are also in play here, but the size of your free bets can create some lucrative winnings in the best case scenario.

888Sport

Logo of 888Sport chosen as the best site for enhanced odds on GAA handball next to an image of a handball player in an action pose

While 888Sport offers fewer betting markets the either Ladbrokes or William Hill, it’s 28 options does include the five major GAA sports.

So, you can bet on a selection of prominent Gaelic Handball championships, while also accessing enhanced odds and some of the most competitive prices on the market.

With 888Sport, you can also access up to €100 in bet credits through the operator's welcome offer, with this available to all new players who credit their account with a minimum of €5. The total value of this bonus (which is set by the size of your deposit) will be subject to wagering requirements of 5x, so you’ll need to factor this in when registering with the sportsbooks.

What are the Most Popular Gaelic Handball Bets?

If you’re relatively new to the sport of Gaelic Handball, the chances are that you may be relatively unfamiliar with the rules of engagement and the associated betting markets.

Below, we’ve made a list of the most popular bets, while asking why they’re so popular among punters:

The Moneyline Bet

Given the relative lack of betting markets offered in relation to Gaelic Handball, you’d be best served by sticking to relatively simple options such as so-called “moneyline” wager.

With this bet, you simply back a single player to win an individual match, with this classic wager more appealing in individual sports like Gaelic Handball as the draw is almost always eliminated option.

So, you’ll have what equates to a 50% chance of your wager coming in, while your odds of winning can be improved incrementally if you have knowledge of individual players and an understanding of their form.

The Accumulator Bet

Accumulator betting is incredibly popular across a wide range of team and individual sports, and Gaelic Handball is no exception to this rule.

With an accumulator bet, you’ll include four or more selections into a single wager, with the respective odds then multiplied together to create a much longer, cumulative price.

For your wager to come in, however, each individual player selected will have to win their match, otherwise you won’t receive a return at all on your initial stake.

In order to optimise your chances of success, we’d recommend favouring relatively short-priced favourites, while limiting your selection to no more than six players.

Outright Betting

We close with outright betting, which is similar to moneyline wager apart from the fact that you’ll back the winner of a particular tournament or championship rather than a single game.

To get this right, you’ll need to have knowledge of the competing counties and their best players, with this understanding crucial if you’re to back the winner of competitive tournaments like the Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship.

In general terms, Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy is considered to be the world’s best Gaelic Handball player, with this talented performer having won a staggering seven Senior Softball Singles titles in just eight years between 2011 and 2019.

Alternative Bookmakers for Gaelic Handball

18+ | UK 1st depositors only (NI excl.). Mobile Exclusive. Bet £10 minimum on sports & get a £20 free bet. Wagering req. apply: min odds of 2 | Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply | 30 days to qualify | Payment method restrictions exist | Play Responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply. http://www.begambleaware.org

18+ | New players only | Offer must be claimed by placing a min deposit of EUR30 | Max.EUR20 Free Bet | Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater | Paid as bonus token with min. 4/5 (1.80) odds req. | Bonus must be used within 14 days of being credited | Non qualifying bets include (but not limited to) void, canceled & cashed out | Deposits via Skrill, Neteler & Paypal not eligible | More Wagering, Banking, Terms & Conditions may apply | Play Responsibly | www.begambleaware.org

18+ New UK + IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. www.begambleaware.org

Gaelic Handball Betting – What are the Key Things to Keep in Mind

Logo of the GAA handball next to an image of a handball court

OK, we hear you ask, but do you have any special tips when betting on Gaelic Handball matches and tournaments?

We certainly do, and our expert team have listed just a few below for you to keep in mind:

The Importance of Form

Like all individual sports, Gaelic Handball players enjoy peaks and troughs of form, with past and recent performances a key indicator of future performance.

What’s more, some players are known to reserve their best performances for stellar tournaments such as the Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship, including Robbie McCarthy and Eion Kennedy (the Dublin player who has won the title on 10 separate occasions and most recently in 2019).

By targeting such players and identifying those that enter championships in the best form, you can make informed selections that deliver the best possible chance of success.

Use the Markets to Identify and Create Value

Of course, it can be hard to find value when betting on star performers like McCarthy and Kennedy to win in the formative rounds of the Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship.

After all, while each of these players are likely to beat inferior players, they’ll also be backable at relatively short odds that offer only nominal returns.

So, the onus is on you to use knowledge and form analysis to identify value in listed odds, such as when a player boasts relatively long odds but actually has a good chance of winning a particular game.

What’s more, some markets can help you to createvalue, whether you back a player to win by a specific points margin or apply a handicap and virtual disadvantage to lengthen the odds of a clear favourite.

Keep Abreast of the Latest News

Regardless of which sport you choose to bet on, following the latest and breaking news can offer critical insight into a player’s recent form and injury struggles.

This can change the way in which you perceive betting selections and their associated odds, as even heavily-favoured players may struggle to offer value if they enter particular tournaments suffering from injuries or illness.

Following a player’s results and level of performance all year round can also be helpful, as it creates a gauge of an individual’s consistency and reliability from the perspective of punters.

Gaelic Handball All-Year Round - A Glance at the Calendar

Logo of GAA Handball

There are only a select few Gaelic Handball tournaments held throughout the year, the majority of which take place from July through September.

These include the Gaelic Senior soft and hardball championships, the former of which is usually held between August and September and the latter in July.

Of course, these championships are often contested by the same leading players from the leading 32 counties in Ireland, and while each iteration of the sport is played within similar court dimensions, the nature of the ball varies considerably from one to the other.

Other tournaments include the All-Ireland Senior 4-Wall Singles Championships, which has also been dominated by Robbie McCarthy of late and features a one-on-one, knockout format.

The Irish Wallball Nationals represent another top-tier GAA championship and one that features more than 400 competitors. Incredibly, it’s now one of the biggest one-wall handball events in Europe, despite having only launched in Sligo as recently as 1997.

Dedicated fans of the sport will also be aware of the Irish Collegiate Handball Association, which is regulated by the ICHA Association and considered to be a third-level handball tournament.

Below, we’ve created a brief guide to the main Gaelic Handball tournaments in Ireland, including their likely 2022 dates and reigning champions (where applicable).

Championship

Next Dates

Competitors

Most Successful Players

Current Champions

Gaelic Senior Softball Singles

 

August - September 2022 (TBC)

32

Michael Ducksy Walsh, Kilkenny (16 titles)

Eion Kennedy, Dublin City (10th title)

All-Ireland Senior 4-Wall Singles Championships

 

February - March 2022 (TBC)

TBC

Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath

Robbie McCarthy, Westmeath

 

Irish Wallball Nationals

Early-July 2022 (TBC)

400 (TBC)

D. King (Carlow), C. McElduff (Tyrone) - 4 titles each

M. Mulkerrins, Galway (2nd title)

 

Gaelic All-Ireland Senior Hardball Singles

July 2022 (TBC)

32

JJ. Gilmartin, Kilkenny (10 titles)

R. McCarthy, Westmeath (2nd title)

Irish Collegiate Handball Association

 (TBC)

21

N/A

N/A

The Best Handball Players in Ireland

GAA Handball Court and Ball

Fundamentally, GAA Handball is an individual sport, with players competing either in singles or doubles in the tournaments listed above.

As a result of this, GAA Handball has a great deal in common with tennis, with the sport’s domestic and international profile driven by the power of personality and the superstars who continue to dominate the game.

With this in mind, we’ve listed the top three GAA Handball players below, while taking a sneak peek at their achievements and successes to date!

1. Robbie McCarthy (Mullingar, Westmeath)

Let’s start with Robbie McCarthy, who remains the best men’s player in the world and one who claimed his eighth All-Ireland Senior Softball title in October last year.

McCarthy, who represents Mullingar at club level in Westmeath, also excels in the 60x30 singles championship, while he’s known to have built his game on that of Alan Garner (who possessed one of the best backwall kills of all-time).

Interestingly, McCarthy is also the defending All-Ireland Senior Hardball singles’ champion, having won his second such honour in 2019.

2. Eion Kennedy (Saint Brigid’s, Dublin)

Next up is the legendary Eion Kennedy, who currently plies his trade for Saint Brigid’s in the county of Dublin.

While his halcyon days may arguably be beyond him, Kennedy remains the single most successful active singles’ player, with an impressive 10 All-Ireland softball titles and 8 All-Ireland hardball titles dating back to 2002.

This includes a run of eight softball singles’ crowns in nine years between 2002 and 2010, while he ended a five-year barren run by lifting the same title in 2019.

3. Dairmuid Nash (Tuamgraney, Clare)

We close with Clare’s Dairmuid Nash, who has the interesting distinction of being named as Robbie McCarthy’s toughest ever opponent by the man himself.

The 30-year old boasts a current GAA ranking of second, while his aggressive, left-handed playing style has enabled him to perform at an incredibly high level over an extended period of time.

Nash is also an incredibly accomplished doubles’ players, having claimed two prestigious World Senior Doubles’ titles during his career.

Global GAA – Handball Across the Globe

Like all other GAA disciplines, handball became a formalised discipline in 1884, quickly emerging as a popular sport across the length-and-breadth of Ireland.

Of course, it also makes sense that GAA Handball should have since become a global export, with Scottish and Irish immigrants having initially taken the sport to England and the US in the late 19th century.

Since then, it has spread to many of the far-flung corners of the globe, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Today, GAA Handball is undoubtedly a global game, and one that’s becoming increasingly popular in nations such as Holland, Italy, Argentina, Ecuador, Japan and India (to name but a few).

Each of these countries have the opportunity to enter players into the 40x20 World Handball Championships, which is hosted every three years in various locations across the globe.

In 2012, for example, the ‘worlds’ were held in Ireland at the Citywest International Events Arena in Dublin, while the tournament subsequently moved to Calgary (2015) and Minnesota (2018). The latter iteration, which was held in August 2018, saw Cork’s Killian Carroll and Limerick’s Martina McMahon claim the respective male and female singles’ titles, although the recent 2021 tournament was sadly cancelled by the GAA.

Other international events take place globally throughout the calendar year, with the number of tournaments increasing in line with rising demand. Here’s a selection of the most popular GAA Handball events from overseas.

Championship

Next Dates

Most Successful Team

Current Champions

Euro1Wall Belgium Open 2022

TBC

N/A

N/A

Golden Gloves, Elite 4-Wall Event

TBC

N/A

N/A

US 4-Wall Collegiates 2022

 

February 2022

N/A

N/A

Then and Now - A Brief History of Gaelic Handball

While the jury is out on where Gaelic Handball actually originated, similar games have been portrayed at a number of different points through history.

Handball-like games were referenced in hieroglyphs in the temple of Osiris in Egypt, for example, while civilisations in Mesoamerica and South America also played a similar sport.

Another early origin for the game in Ireland is supported by recent archaeological finds in the Callan and Mooncoin areas of Kilkenny, hinting at a Celtic antecedent to the sport that we all know and love today!

The earliest written record of the game is contained in the town statutes of Galway from 1527, which predates the initial depiction of modern handball in 1785. The GAA subsequently wrote the initial rules for contemporary handball in 1884, with the sport having gone from strength to strength since this time.

What’s more, the GAA has remained true to its commitment to promote all of its sports, despite the overwhelming recent success of Gaelic Football and (less pertinently) hurling.

To this end, the GAA recently unveiled an initiative to encourage all 32 counties to organise outdoor handball tournaments, in a bid to further drive participation rates and promote tournaments such as the Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship.

FAQs - Your Questions Answered

So there you have it; our comprehensive guide to Gaelic Handball, its key betting markets and major tournaments!

What better way to close than with some of your most frequently asked questions, as we look to provide clarity on some of your biggest areas of concern!

Is Gaelic Handball Played Across the Globe?

As you can imagine from its Celtic origins, Irish and Scottish immigrants have played a major role in promoting Gaelic Handball in the wider world. This has resulted the sport being played to a high level in 74 countries today, including the United States, China, Mexico and the UK!

Who are the Most Successful Gaelic Football Players and Counties?

As we’ve already touched on, Robbie McCarthy and Eion Kennedy are the two outstanding players of the modern generation. In the Gaelic Senior Softball Singles Championship, Kilkenny (25) and Dublin (16) have won the most county titles, with the same two entities claiming 33 Senior Hardball Championships since their inception.

Are There Only Singles’ Games in Gaelic Handball?

While Gaelic Handball is synonymous with singles’ players, there are tournaments that also feature doubles events. In such instances, four players will compete in teams of two, with this requiring a slightly different skillset from the competiting participants.

Can You Score Points if You’re Not Serving in Handball?

What a good question! In short, points are only ever scored by the person serving the ball. So, if an individual player wins a rally but didn’t serve at the start, they merely win the right to serve and score subsequently. Conversely, servers who win their rally will be rewarded with a point.