In Ireland, the rules of rounders (Irish: cluiche corr) are laid-down by the Gaelic Athletic Association. The GAA rules are the earliest nationally organised rules of play, being formalised in 1884. This version of rounders is most like baseball. It is played on a larger pitch compared to the NRA game and consequently uses larger bats and slightly larger balls. A GAA rounders pitch is a 70 metres (77 yd) square field and bases are 25 metres (27 yd) apart, compared to 12 metres (13 yd) for the NRA game. Foul ground runs along two adjacent sides of the pitch with home base at the intersection of these sides.
Three substitutes may be made to the list of field players during play. A maximum of nine players are allowed to field at one time. There is no limit for the number of batters a team may list.
The ball (or sliothar) circumference is 22.7–25.5 centimetres (8.9–10.0 in) and bats may be 70–110 centimetres (28–43 in) long and up to 22 centimetres (8.7 in) in diameter. There is no limit on bat weight. Bases are normally marked with temporary square mats 64 cm (28″) wide for home-base and the pitchers stand and 46 centimetres (18 in) wide for all others.
Each batter is entitled to three good balls. A batter must try to hit any good balls that are bowled, but need not run hitting the ball. If a ball is struck that would otherwise be considered ‘bad’, the ball is then considered to be ‘good’. If, on the first or second good ball, a ball is hit into the foul ground, or the ball is hit but no running occurs, it is considered a ‘dead’ ball and the batter or runners may not advance. If a batter receives three bad balls then a ‘walk-on’ is called and all runners advance one base. The batter may run on any ball except a dead ball. The batter is not allowed to drop the bat whilst running or that person is out and no rounders are scored.
A batter is out if:
- on a third good ball, the batter fails to strike the ball and the catcher holds the ball before it touches the ground;
- the bat is thrown or tossed in a dangerous way;
- on a third good ball, the batter strikes the ball in to the foul area;
- the bowler or catcher’s view is obstructed for a second time, after a warning given on the first instance;
- deliberate contact is made with a fielder carrying the ball;
- the batter touches a base that has been ‘tagged’ by another fielder carrying the ball, in which case the batter must return to the previous base if it is still unoccupied;
- the batter attempts to occupy a base occupied by someone else (with the exception of first base, which must be vacated to make way for the approaching batter.
Batters must run in straight lines between bases and fielders must not obstruct their way or stand on bases. Disobeying this rule is considered unsporting behaviour and may result in up to two bases being awarded to the batting team or a batter being sent out. Normally, one batter may not overtake another while running between bases, although there are exceptions to this rule.
Five innings constitute a game, depending on the level of the match. Each batting team’s inning continues until three outs are made.
Rounders is a bat and ball game which is played in Ireland; a similar version is played in England. Rounders is organised by a sub-division of the GAA known as the Rounders Council of Ireland. It is similar to softball and is great fun for groups to play.