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The Mark Rule for Mens Gaelic Football in Europe

I just wanted to clarify a few things about the new Mark Rule in Men’s Football. First and most important of all The Mark must be played as per the rules in Ireland. There is a proposal to introduce a restriction that a player cannot score directly from a Mark in GGE. This is just a proposal and HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED YET.

There are issues with this proposal namely; as it is, “The Mark” rule allows an opposition player to catch the ball from the kick out. He now has a free shot on goal (albeit with only 5 seconds to do so). If we introduce this then we are denying something that is in the rule and that would require a byelaw or a deviation. We don’t have either at the moment.

The bottom line here is that until further notice, in all GGE games the player being awarded the Mark is allowed to score.

As for defining the 45m line, this is covered in the European Competition Regulations but in short it states:

Any existing markings within +/- 2 metres can be used (i.e. certain rugby pitch markings)

Rule 2.12 Mark (Exact woring as per the Official Guide)
When a player catches the ball cleanly from a Kick-Out without it touching the ground, on or past the 45m line nearest the Kick-Out point, he shall be awarded a ‘Mark’ by the Referee.

The player awarded a ‘Mark’ shall have the options of (a) Taking a free kick or (b) Playing on immediately.
The following procedures shall apply:

(a) Free Kick
The player shall signify to the Referee if he is availing of the free kick and then take the free kick himself from the hand from the point where he was awarded the ‘Mark’.

Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’, the Referee shall allow up to five seconds for the player to take the kick. If the player delays longer than five seconds, the Referee shall cancel the ‘Mark’ and throw in the ball between a player from each side.

Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’, the opposing players must retreat 10m to allow the player space to take the kick. If an opposing player deliberately blocks or attempts to block the kick within 10m, or if an opposing player impedes the player while he is taking the kick, the Referee shall penalise the opposing team by bringing the ball forward 13m.

If the Referee determines that the player who makes the ‘Mark’ has been injured in the process and is unable to take the kick, the Referee shall direct the Player’s nearest team mate to take the kick but he may not score directly from the kick.

(b) Play on immediately
(i) In this circumstance the player may not be challenged for the ball until he carries the ball up to a maximum of four consecutive steps or holds the ball for no longer than the time needed to take four steps and/or
makes one act of kicking, hand passing, bouncing or toe-tapping the ball.
(ii) If the Player is illegally challenged, a free kick shall be awarded to his team from the point at which the challenge is made, and this free kick may be taken by any player on his team.)

Central Council gave an Interpretation as follows:

  1. The referee shall award “the mark” by blowing the whistle.
  2. “On or past the 45m line” shall mean that both feet of the catcher are on or past the 45m line when he catches the ball or on landing.
  3. In order to signify that he wishes to take a free-kick, the player who catches the ball and has been awarded a “mark” by the referee should stop playing. If he does not obviously stop then it should be taken that he is “playing on”.
  4. “Challenged” as mentioned in the rule is taken as “tackle” as defined; once the player plays on he may be tackled after four steps or once he plays the ball in any way.
  5. All players must be at least 13 metres from where “the mark” is awarded.
  6. 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. The player in question may not score directly from the kick. (Current rule states that only the “nearest team mate” may take the free kick). In order to be awarded a “Mark”, the ball must not have been touched in flight by another player.

Other Comments

No 5 above appears to conflict with the rule (10m or 13m?).

The answer is 13m in all cases. This was changed by Central Council after the rule was introduced as they say there was a conflict.

  1. How does the Referee award a “Mark”? The Referee awards a Mark by blowing the whistle.
  2. To be awarded a “Mark” does the catch have to be from a kick-out from the player’s own team? No, a Mark shall be awarded if the catch is from a kick-out from either team.
  3. How does the player who is awarded the “Mark”, “signal to the Referee” that he is availing of the free kick?
    In order to signal that he wishes to take a free-kick, the player who catches the ball and has been awarded the “Mark” by the Referee should stop playing. If he does not obviously stop then it should be taken that he is “playing on”.
  4. Can a player who is awarded the Mark score directly from it? Yes. This includes an opposition player but they only have 5 seconds to play the ball. They may also take 4 steps in the process.
  5. If the player awarded the Mark is impeded while trying to play the ball what happens? The Referee shall bring the ball 13 metres to a more advantageous position and it is now a free kick so any player can take that free kick and shall not be restricted by the 5 second rule. They may of course score.
  6. If the player awarded the Mark is injured in the process what is the award? Any teammate may take the free kick from the hands, but he may not score directly from the kick.
  7. What happens if a team mate who was not awarded the Mark, takes it and scores (excluding the injury provision)? A throw ball is awarded from the position of the Mark.

I hope this clarifies things for everyone. If you still have some doubts, please let us know. We will either answer it based on what is certain or will pass it on to the correct person to get an answer and get back to you!

Happy Marking

Other Resources

The offical GAA definition of the Mark Rule is here.

And this is a good video to help define and clarify the rule : However, in clip 13, where the player catches the ball outside the 45m but lands inside it, they state that this not a Mark. This conflicts with the Central Council interpretation above. I am awaiting a query I had on this and will update here.

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