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Explainer: The key questions about the new 'Mark' rule in Gaelic football

On 1 January, the rule will come into play.

ON 1 JANUARY 2017, the mark will officially come into play in Gaelic football.

Paul Flynn catches a high ball Dublin's Paul Flynn grabs the ball against Tyrone. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It has been trialed in the third-level colleges arena recently and now will come into play at inter-county and club level in the New Year.

Source: officialgaa/YouTube

But what are the key questions as regards the new rule?

1. 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.

2. Is a “Mark” awarded for a catch from a kick-out no matter where it takes place?

No, a Mark shall be awarded if the catch is made on or outside the 45m line from a kick-out from either team.

Bryan Sheehan catches a high ball Kerry's Bryan Sheehan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

3. How does the player who is awarded the “Mark”, “signify to the Referee” that he is availing of the free kick

In order to signify 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. How long has the player awarded the “Mark” to take the free kick?

He shall not delay longer than five seconds.

5. If the player awarded the “Mark” delays the taking of the free kick by more than five seconds, what is the award?

The Mark and free kick shall be cancelled and a throw-in between one player from each side is awarded.

The Referees Handbook Launch Referees Maurice Deegan, Brian Gavin and Conor Lane at today's launch of The Referees Handbook Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

6. How far do players have to be from the free kick?

All players (team-mates and opponents) must be 13m from the free kick.

7. If the player who has been awarded the Mark chooses to take a free kick and a player from the opposing team blocks or attempts to block that kick within 13m or interferes with the player who has chosen to take the kick, what is the award?

A free kick 13m more advantageous shall be awarded.

8. What happens if a team mate plays the ball within 13m of the free kick awarded for the Mark?

A free kick is awarded to the opposition.

9. If the player awarded the Mark is injured in the process what is the award?

Any team mate may take the free kick from the hands, but he may not score directly from the kick.

Donal O'Hare catches a high ball Down's Donal O'Hare catches a high ball Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

10. What is the award if a player, who is taking the free kick following an injury to a team mate, scores directly from the kick?

A free kick is awarded to the opposition from the point at which the original free kick was taken.

11. When the player awarded the Mark decides to play on, when may he be tackled?

He may be tackled after he takes four steps or once he plays the ball in any way.

The Referees Handbook Launch Referees Maurice Deegan, Brian Gavin and Conor Lane at today's press briefing on the mark Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

12. What is the award if a player who has chosen to play on is illegally challenged?

A free kick shall be awarded at the point at which the illegal challenge is made.

13. Can a mark be awarded if the ball is touched in flight by another player before it is caught?

No, in order to be awarded a “Mark”, the ball must not have been touched by another player.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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