Gaelic Football Club. Est. 2009
The Playing Rules of Gaelic Football
• RULE 1 - THE PLAY
1.1 The ball is in play once it has been thrown in or kicked after the referee has given a signal to start or restart play, and it remains in play until:
(a) the referee signals a stop;
(b) the ball has passed completely over any boundary line or strikes any flag marking the boundary lines;
(c) the ball has been prevented from going over any boundary line or is touched in play by anyone other than a player.
1.2 When the ball is on the ground, it may be played by any part of the body except the hand(s). It may be lifted off the ground with the feet.
(i) The goalkeeper may play the ball on the ground with his hand(s) inside his own small rectangle.
(ii) Any player who falls or is knocked to the ground while in possession of the ball may fist or palm the ball away on the ground,
and may score by so doing.
(iii) The ball may not be lifted off the ground with the knees.53
1.3 When the ball is not on the ground, it may be played by any part of the body.
1.4 When a player is in possession of the ball, it may be:-
(a) carried for a maximum of four consecutive steps or held in the hand(s) for no longer than the time needed to take four steps;
(b) played from the foot to the hand(s) -toetapped;
(c) bounced once, and once after each toetap;
(d) changed from one hand to the other once, with the original holding hand maintaining contact until the change is completed;
(e) struck with the open hand(s) or fist, provided there is a definite striking action;
(f) tossed for a kick, a toe-tap or a pass with the hand(s).
The ball may be knocked from an opponent’s hand(s) by flicking it with the open hand.
1.5 When the ball has not been caught, it may be bounced more than once in succession.
1.6 Player(s) may tackle an opponent for the ball.
1.7 Provided he has at least one foot on the ground, a player may make a side-to-side charge on an opponent:-
(a) who is in possession of the ball, or
(b) who is playing the ball, or
(c) when both players are moving in the direction of the ball to play it. 54
When he is within the small rectangle, the goalkeeper may not be charged but he may be challenged for possession of the ball, and
his kick or pass may be blocked. Incidental contact with the goalkeeper while playing the ball is permitted.
1.8 A goalkeeper may move along his goal-line when a penalty kick is being taken.
1.9 For a run-up to a free kick, side-line kick or kick-out, a player may go outside a boundary line, otherwise players shall remain within the
field of play.
1.10 A player may hold up his hands to intercept a free kick.55
RULE 2 - SET PLAY
2.1 The Referee, facing the players, starts the game and restarts it after half-time, by throwing in the ball between two players from each team, who shall stand one behind the other in their own defensive sides of the half-way line. All other players shall be in their respective positions behind the 45m lines.
2.2 After a foul, play is restarted by a free kick or a throw-in where the foul(s) occurred.
(i) In the case of fouls by a defending player within the rectangles, the following shall apply:
A penalty kick shall be awarded for an Aggressive Foul within the large rectangle or any foul within the small rectangle.
The penalty kick shall be taken from the ground at the centre point of the 13m line.
A free kick from the centre of the 13m line shall be awarded for a Technical Foul by a defending player within the large rectangle
but outside the small rectangle.
(ii) A free kick awarded for a foul by a defending player inside his own 13m line but outside the large rectangle shall be taken from the 13m line opposite where the foul occurred.56
(iii) When a player is fouled immediately after he plays the ball away and a score results, it shall stand. Otherwise, the referee shall award a free kick from where the foul occurred or, if more advantageous, from where the ball lands or crosses the sideline. With the option of a free being awarded from where the foul occurred being retained, the rule shall apply in the following circumstances as outlined:-
(a) If the ball lands over the end-line, the free kick shall be given on the 13m line opposite the place where the ball crossed the end-line;
(b) if the ball lands inside the opponents’ 13m line, a free kick shall be given from the 13m at the point where the ball crossed this line.
(iv) Where otherwise specified in the penalties listed in Rule 4 Sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37;
Rule 5, Sections 13, 30; Rule 6.3.
(v) When play is restarted by throwing in the ball after a foul(s) between the end-line and the 20m line, the throw-in shall be given
on the 20m line opposite where the foul(s) occurred.
All players except the player taking the free kick shall be at least 13m from where the free kick is awarded, or, all players except those two contesting the throw-in 57 shall be at least 13m from where the throwin is awarded.
2.3 A penalty kick shall be taken from the ground at the centre point of the 13m line, and only the defending goalkeeper may stand on the
goal-line. All other players, with the exception of the player taking the kick, shall be outside the 20m line and the arc, be at least 13m from
the ball, and shall not cross the 20m line or the arc until the ball has been kicked. The goalkeeper may move along his line, but may not advance from the goal-line until the ball has been kicked. If a defending player fouls before the ball is kicked and a goal does not result, the referee shall allow the penalty kick to be retaken.
2.4 When opposing players foul simultaneously, play is restarted by throwing in the ball.
2.5 A free-kick, other than a penalty-kick, may be taken from the hands or from the ground. A player having indicated his option to the referee shall not be permitted to change his decision. The ball shall be stationary when a free kick is taken from the ground.
2.6 With the Referee’s consent, a free kick may be taken immediately.
A penalty kick and a free kick awarded to a team from their opponents’ 13m line.58 2.7 (a) When the ball is played over the end-line by the team attacking that end, play is restarted by a kick-out off the ground from within the small rectangle. 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 hand(s). If the goalkeeper is not taking the kick-out, he shall stay in the small rectangle, and all other players except the player taking the kick-out shall be outside the 20m line until the ball has been kicked. The ball shall travel 13m before being played by another player of the defending team.
(b) After a score, the kick-out shall be taken from the ground on the 20m line in front of the scoring space. All players, except the goalkeeper and the player taking the kick-out (if other than the goalkeeper), shall be outside the 20m line. All other players shall be 13m from the ball until it has been kicked.
(c) The Player taking the kick-out after the ball goes wide or a score shall have the option of using a standard tee as approved by Central
2.8 When the ball is played over the end-line and outside the goalposts by the team defending that end, a free kick off the ground shall be awarded to the opposing team on the 45m line opposite where the ball crossed the end-line.
2.9 When a team plays the ball over the side-line, a free kick from the hand(s) shall be awarded to the opposing team from the place where the 59ball crossed the side-line. If opposing players play the ball simultaneously over the sideline, or if the officials are not sure which team played the ball last, the linesman shall throw in the ball between one player from each team. A ball that strikes a side-line or corner flag shall be treated as having crossed the side-line. All players except the player taking the side-line kick, or the two players contesting the throwin, shall be at least 13m from the ball until it has been kicked or thrown in.
2.10 If the ball touches any non-player during play, play is restarted by throwing in the ball at the place concerned, but if the ball touches any
non-player from a free kick, the free kick shall be retaken.
(i) As provided in Rule 3.3 (a).
(ii) If the ball has been prevented from going over a boundary line by a non-player other than the referee, it shall be treated as having crossed the line, and the referee shall make the appropriate award.60
• RULE 3 - SCORES
3.1 A goal is scored when the ball is played over the goal-line between the posts and under the crossbar by either team.
A point is scored when the ball is played over the crossbar between the posts by either team.
A goal is equivalent to three points.
The team with the greater final total of points is the winner.
A player on the team attacking a goal and who is in possession of the ball may not score: -
(i) by carrying the ball over his opponents’ goal-line;
(ii) a goal with his hands except as provided in Rule 1.2 Exception (ii);
(iii) a point with his open hand(s), but may score a point by fisting the ball.
3.2 A score may be made by striking the ball in flight with the hand(s).
3.3 (a) A score shall be allowed if, in the opinion of the referee, the ball was prevented from crossing the goal-line by anyone other than a player or the referee.
(b) If part of the goal-posts or crossbar is displaced during play, the referee shall award the score which he considers would have resulted had a part not been displaced.61
3.4 If a defending player plays the ball through his own scoring space in any manner, this shall count as a score.62
Rules of Foul Play
• RULE 4 - TECHNICAL FOULS
4.1 To overcarry or overhold the ball.
4.2 (a) To throw the ball.
(b) To handpass the ball without a definite striking action.
4.3 To lift the ball off the ground with the knees.
4.4 To lie on the ball.
4.5 To touch the ball on the ground with the hand(s), except as provided in Rule 1.2.
4.6 To bounce the ball more than once consecutively after catching it.
4.7 To play the ball up with the hand(s) and catch it again before it touches the ground, another player, or goal-posts.
4.8 To wrest the ball from an opponent who has caught the ball.
4.9 For an attacking player to enter opponents’ small rectangle before the ball enters it during play.
(i) If an attacking player legally enters the small rectangle, and the ball is played from that area but is returned before the attacking player has time to leave the area, provided he does not play the ball or interfere with the defence, a foul is not committed.63
(ii) When a point is scored from outside the small rectangle and the ball is sufficiently high to be out of reach of all players, the score shall be allowed even though an attacking player may have been within the
small rectangle before the ball - provided that the player in question does not interfere with the defence.
4.10 (a) To change the ball from one hand to the other, without the original holding hand maintaining contact until the change is completed.
(b) To change the ball from one hand to the other more than once, unless the ball is bounced or toe-tapped between the changes.
4.11 (a) For a player on the team awarded a free kick or a side-line kick to be less than 13m from the ball before it is kicked.
(b) For a player on the team awarded a penalty kick to be inside the 20m line or the arc before the ball is kicked.4.12 For a player attacking a goal to carry the ball over opponents’ goal-line.
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