The GAA's new 'mark' rule - explained

The GAA has explained how its new 'mark' rule will work before its official introduction to Gaelic football on January 1.


The referee shall award “the mark” by blowing the whistle when a ball has been cleanly caught on or past his team’s 45 metre line from a kick-out. A cleanly-caught ball is one which has not been touched in flight by another player.

Both of the catcher’s feet must be on or past the 45m line when he catches the ball or on landing.

The player in question must stop playing to signal he wishes to take a mark free. If he does not, it will be considered he wishes to play on and he can’t be challenged for four steps or until he makes one play of the ball; otherwise he receives a free 13m forward.

If he chooses the free option, he has five seconds to take the kick. Otherwise, a free is awarded to the opposition. If the opposition infringe on the catcher as he attempts to take his “mark” free, the referee is ordered to bring the ball forward by 13 metres.

When a player who is awarded a “mark” is injured, any team-mate may take the free-kick, which must be taken from the hands. He may not score directly from the kick.

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