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Rules & Specifications

Rules & Specifications

The Gaelic Football Rule Changes which become operative on 1 January 2014 are as follows:

1. Introduction of a Black Card for Cynical Behaviour Fouls.
2. Change in the number of substitutes allowed.
3. Distinction between Deliberate and Accidental Fouls.
4. Definition of the Tackle.
5. Introduction of a clearer Advantage Rule.
6. A player in possession may score a point with an open-handed hand-pass

The Black Card:

If a player is deemed guilty of “Cynical behaviour”, a black card may be issued. The player will be sent off but a substitution will be allowed. Substitutions are permitted up to the third black card, however if a team receives a fourth, the player sent off cannot be replaced.

‘Cynical behaviour’ includes these infractions:
(1) ‘to deliberately pull down an opponent’
(2) ‘to deliberately trip an opponent’
(3) ‘to deliberately body collide with an opponent after he has played the ball away”
(4) ‘to threaten or use abusive language or gestures to an opponent or team mate’
(5) ‘to remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a match official’

12. Under the ‘Black Card’ system, a player who issued with 3 black cards is subsequently banned from playing his next game.

The penalty for the above fouls are:

  1. Free Kick from where the foul occurred.
  2. Order Off offender by showing him a Black Card*.
  3. Allow a replacement from within the substitutions permitted*.


  • Increased to SIX per team.
  • Maximum of THREE permitted for Black Card Offenders.




 Playing Rules


The Playing Rules of Hurling and Football are both contained in this booklet – http://dunshaughlingaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2014-Part-2.pdf






Fair Play deals with The Play, Set Play and The Scores, while Foul Play is concerned with Technical Fouls, Aggressive Fouls and Dissent.





Rules of Specification




The rules of specification outline certain factors relating to the playing set up of Gaelic Games.


They specify limitations relating to:


   1. The Field of Play

   2. The Players

   3. Time

   4. Equipment






Pitch Dimensions


The field of play for Gaelic Games is rectangular and its dimensions are as follows:


    * Length – 130m minimum to 145m maximum

    * Width – 80m minimum to 90m maximum



Pitch Markings


At distances of 13m, 20m, 45m (football) and 65m (hurling), lines are marked parallel to the end lines. The intersection of these lines and the end lines with the sidelines are marked with flags.


The midline of the field is marked parallel to the end lines and has a maximum length of 10m (Note: the dimensions may be reduced by local bye-laws for U15 or younger grades).



Goalmouth and Scoring Space


The scoring space is marked in the centre of each end line by two goalposts 6.5m apart, with a height of not less than 7m above ground level. A cross bar is fixed to the goal posts at a height of 2.5m above the ground (Note: goalpost dimensions may be reduced by local bye-laws for U15 or younger grades).


Two rectangles of the following dimensions are formed in front of each set of goalposts.

A) Small Rectangle

14m long by 4.5m wide. The distance from the inside of each goalpost to the beginning of each line of width is 3.75m


B) Large Rectangle

19m long by 13m wide. The distance from the inside of each goalpost to the beginning of each line of width is 6.25m



Substitution Zone and Semi Circle Arc


A semi circle arc of 13m radius, centred on the mid-spot of the 20m line, is marked outside of each 20m line.

An area of the sideline extending 5m on either side of the centre line denotes the substitution zone. All substitutions and temporary replacements occur through this zone, when given permission by the referee (Note: an injured player may leave the field at the nearest point to him)





A team consists of 15 players. These are made up of one goalkeeper, six defenders, two midfielders and six attackers. (Note: the positional line up is as below, but no player is restricted in his movement around the field). The teams line up as follows:
























A team may commence a game with 13 players, but must have fielded 15 players (inclusive of any players ordered off or retired injured) by the start of the second half. A maximum of five substitutes are allowed. A substitution is not allowed in the case of a player ordered off (Note: in the case of extra time, an additional three substitutes are allowed. A player ordered off, in any circumstances, during normal time may not play in extra-time, but may be replaced).


Substitutions/temporary replacements may only be made during a break in play.  Before all official games, the referee must be given a list of players. The first 15 names on the list indicate those players constituting the actual team, unless otherwise clearly indicated.





The playing time consists of two periods of 30 minutes each, but time is added on in each period for incidental or deliberate delays.


In Senior Inter-county Championship and National League games, the playing time consists of two periods of 35 minutes each.


Playing time may be reduced for U15 or younger grades.


A team must take the field not later than 10 minutes before the appointed starting time for Senior Inter-county Championship and other selected games. In all other cases, a team must take the field not later than 5 minutes before the appointed starting time.





County and Club teams wear their registered distinctive colours in competition. Where there is a similarity of colours the teams wear registered alternative colours or colours authorised or directed by the committee in charge.



In all games the goalkeeper must wear a jersey which is distinctive from his/her own team’s and from the opposing team’s colours.


Game Equipment

The basic equipment used to play football is a Gaelic football. 


A Gaelic football is round in shape with a leather panelled surface. The football must not weigh less than 450 grams and not more than 480 grams. It must have a circumference of not less than 68cm and not more than 70cm. (Note: reduced dimensions are recommended for U15 and younger grades)