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Summary of Proposals of Hurling and Football Rules Committees

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Summary of Proposals of Hurling and Football Rules Committees

Proposals approved by Ard Chomhairle on 5ú Nollaig 2009

for Experimentation in the 2010 National League


As 2010 is a year when Playing Rule amendment may be tabled at Congress two Committees were set up by An tUachtarán, Criostóir Ó Cuana to review the Playing Rules of Gaelic Football and Hurling.

The membership of the committees was as follows:

Football: Seamus Woods (Chairman), Michael Curley, Michael McGrath, Oisin McConville, John Kiely, Pat Daly, Liam Sammon, Anthony Rainbow, Patrick Doherty (Secretary).

Hurling: Simon Moroney (Chairman), Ned Quinn, Noel O’Donoghue, Pat O’Connor, Fergal Hartley, Jamesie O’Connor, Ollie Canning, Pat Daly, Fr, Seamus Gardiner, Patrick Doherty (Secretary).

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference of the Committees were confined to the Playing Rules; the Disciplinary Rules and Process were, therefore, beyond the brief of the Committees.

The Proposals of the Committees:


1. Fist Pass:

Proposal: Eliminate the “open handed” pass and return to fist pass only.

Rationale: It is accepted that the hand pass is being widely abused and is, consequently, impossible to implement on a consistent basis.

2. Catch from Kick-out:

Proposal: A free- kick to be awarded to a player making a catch between the 45 m lines directly from a kick-out. The free-kick is to be taken by the player who makes the catch unless he is injured prior to the free-kick being taken.

Rationale: It was felt that “high-fielding”, once one of the most highly acclaimed skills in the game, needs to be acknowledged and rewarded.

3. Bounce:

Proposal: The bounce in Football to be re-defined as: “For a player to play the ball against the ground with his hand(s) and to catch it on return to his hand(s)”.

Rationale: It is considered by the committee that the current definition viz “For a player to play the ball against the ground with his hand(s) and back to his hand(s) again” has led to considerable ambiguity and inconsistencies in referee interpretation.

4. Penalty Kick

Proposal: The penalty should be taken from a spot which is located 11m. from the centre of the goal line.

Rationale: It was accepted that a disparity has developed between penalties in hurling and football; statistical evidence suggests that the relatively modest return from penalties in football leads to the conclusion that it pays to foul. It is considered that a penalty kick from the centre of the 13m line does not carry a sufficient level of deterrent, and is not the advantage to the attacking team that such should be.

5. Kick-out

Proposal: All kick-out to be taken from the 13m line, within the small rectangle.

Rationale: It was noted that there is considerable time delay at kick-outs and that “short” kick-outs following wides can be unsightly, and occasionally controversial. It was further considered that this may encourage “high fielding”, mentioned earlier in the proposal with regard to the introduction of the free-kick for the catch from a kick-out.


1. Hand-pass

Proposal: That the hand-pass in hurling be defined as: “The ball must be released and struck with a definite striking action of the hand”.

Rationale: With the speed of the game it is becoming increasingly difficult for referees to judge whether a player has thrown the ball or not. This definition will bring clarity to the judgment decision.

2. Rules 4.16 (a) & (b) – Technical Fouls

Proposal: To replace the words “before the puck is taken” with “before the ball is struck” in Rule 4.16.

Rationale: Rule 4.11 and Rule 4.16 relate to the penalty puck and this proposal will simply ensure that the wording is consistent between both Rules.

3. Puck-out

Proposal: That the penalty under Rule 4.15 relating to taking the puck-out from outside the small rectangle be amended to:

(i) Cancel puck-out.

(ii) Throw in the ball on the defenders’ 20m line opposite the scoring space”.

Rationale: It is considered that the penalty for “fouling” a puck-out, i.e the award of a 65m free to the opposition is too severe.

Proposals affecting Both Games

The following proposals were put forward which affect both Football and Hurling.

1. Advantage

Proposal: The referee shall indicate that advantage is being played by means of a “raised and extended arm”.

Rationale: Both committees considered the “Advantage Rule” as currently defined. A “re-call” mechanism was discussed but it was agreed that it would be impossible to implement. It was decided, therefore, that the proposal would be that a clearly-defined signal be used indicating that the referee had seen a foul, and was playing an advantage.

2. Throw-ins

Proposal: Throw-ins should not take place closer than 13m from the side-line.

Rationale: It is considered that very often throw-in situations can become very unsightly, particularly when the side-line is pinning the players in a particular area.

3. Charge (Fair)

Proposal: Include the words “Shoulder to shoulder” rather than “side to side” in the definition of the Fair Charge.

Rationale: It is the contention of the committees that the words “side to side” are causing inconsistencies in the application of the rule and in some cases, legitimising what would appear to be foul play.

Proposal (from Football Committee): That a player who is in the act of kicking the ball could not be charged, in a manner otherwise considered to be fair.

Rationale: The opinion of the Committee is that a player in the act of kicking the ball is actually at his most vulnerable as he will only have one foot on the ground and therefore, a charge (even though otherwise fair) may be dangerous and should not be legitimate.

4. Boundary Line

Proposal: Amend the penalty for deliberately going outside the boundary lines to gain an advantage to “Free-puck/kick from where the foul occurred”.

Rationale: It is considered that the current penalty of “Caution offender; order off for second cautionable offence” is too severe.

5. Time

Proposal: That the half-time and full-time whistle not be blown until the ball has gone over any boundary line.

Rationale: On occasion controversy has arisen in the past when a referee has, correctly, blown the whistle for half or full time when a team is attacking and with a scoring opportunity.

6. Rule 4 – Technical Fouls

Proposal: Amend Rule 4.9 relating to the “small rectangle” to allow a player enter the rectangle once the ball has been played. The rule would not be amended with regard to Set Play situations.

Rationale: It is virtually impossible for referees and umpires to adjudicate correctly on this rule on all occasions.


All proposals were adopted by Ard Chomhairle for experimentation during the 2010 National League with a view to deciding as to whether they should be proposed to Congress as permanent changes.

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