Gaelic football 'mark' to be introduced by GAA from 2017
Gaelic football will be revolutionised with the introduction of an Australian Rules-style 'mark' on January 1.
Arising from last Saturday’s Central Council meeting, the GAA confirmed that the rule, which was introduced at the 2016 GAA Congress in Carlow, was successfully trialled in Division One of the Higher Education League will come into effect from the beginning of 2017.
The rule states: “When a player catches the ball cleanly from a Kick-Out without it touching the ground, on or past the 45m line nearest the KickOut 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."
It is hoped that the rule change will reward the skill of high fielding in the game.
The meeting also ratified the GAA 2017 Fixtures Masterplan.
It included the following points of note:
On a pilot basis in 2017, the Allianz League hurling quarter-finals and semi-finals will finish on the day the games are played avoiding the need for replays.
If games in these competitions are level after two separate periods of extra time have been played, the outcome will be decided by a free-taking competition. No semi-finals will be played in the Allianz Football League
The finals of the Allianz Football Leagues and the Division 1 Hurling League final will be played a fortnight earlier than they have been heretofore thus freeing up additional time for club programmes.
A special U17 competition will be organised in 2017 to address the cross-over from U18 minor competitions to U17 in 2018. Like the Allianz Hurling league quarter and semi-finals, games in these competitions will finish on the day
Fingal have withdrawn from all hurling competitions in 2017 and this will mean that there will be no relegation from Division 3A and there will be a double round of games in this division. There will also be no relegation from the Rackard Cup.
The GAA also announced that an updated protocol has been agreed with the GPA following on from the draft agreement as announced in July last.
Revised Central Council guidelines for inter-county players (to include suitable provisions on expenses, tickets, gear etc.) have also been agreed including the adoption of a new players’ charter.