Referees to tackle cynical pull-backs

Inter-county referees have been told to be particularly vigilant about the pull-back foul this summer.

In recent years, referees chiefs have honed in some infringements at pre-championship seminars and officials are under instructions to ensure the cynical practise of players dragging back opponents is properly penalised.

The pull-back is regarded by Gaelic football teams as one of the best means of performing a cynical foul without incurring a black card as the impeded player is unlikely to be brought down to the ground because of it. In hurling, the use of the spare hand in pulling back an opposing player is common.

In both codes, “to hold an opponent with the hand(s)” is a free as well as a name-taking offence. If repeated, the second foul is a yellow card offence and the third deemed a second yellow infringement.

The Connacht SFC London-Sligo and New York-Leitrim quarter-finals in Ruislip and Gaelic Park on Sunday were the senior championship debuts for the new kick-out rule, which states the ball from those restarts must cross the 20m line.

The ball must also travel 13m. The penalty for the ball not crossing the 20m line or being 13m in length is a cancellation of the kick-out and a throw-in on that 20m line.

A little known rules allows the goalkeeper or player taking the restart to take a touch before kicking it out. According to Rule 2.7 (a), “The player taking a kick-out may kick the ball more than once before any other player touches it but may not take the ball into his hands.”

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