Primer on experimental rules


With our opening game in next year’s FBD League now little more than two weeks away, it’s a good time, I guess, for a small reminder about the experimental rules that are being trialled in the pre-season tournaments and, possibly, in the upcoming League campaign too.

Already these changes have morphed from theory into practice, with the action having begun over the last few weekends in both the O’Byrne and McKenna Cups. So far at least, it appears that none of the changes being road-tested have provoked much in the way of outrage.

Anyway, onto the primer about the rule changes. The GAA recently issued to clubs and counties a few graphics on the experimental rules, which @MayoGAA have now published via Twitter – here.

There are five new rules in all. The first introduces a restriction on the handpass to no more than three such passes by the team in possession. This is the graphic on the handpass rule.

Rule 2 provides for sideline kicks to be played in a forward direction only (unless it’s a restart taken from within an opponent’s 20 metre line), while Rule 3, the advanced Mark, provides for an attacking player to be able to claim a Mark when cleanly catching a pass that has been played from the 45-metre line (or further back) and which has travelled at least 20 metres before the Mark is claimed. This is the graphic on these two rules but note also the clarification issued since by the GAA, explained in a piece in today’s Irish Examinerhere.

Rule 4 implements a 10-minute Sin Bin penalty for black card offences while Rule 5 provides for all kick-outs to be taken from the 20-metre line, with all other players outside that line and beyond the semi-circular arc, as well as being at least 13 metres away from where the kick-out is being taken. Here’s the graphic on these two rules.

There was a fair bit of caterwauling in advance about the experimental rules but, as noted, the reaction arising from their use in the few pre-season matches that have already been played has been far more muted. Personally, I have an open mind on the changes and I’m quite looking forward to seeing how they fare out over the coming weeks. I think there’s a lot of sense in the GAA’s decision – made following a meeting last month with the GPA – to review how the rules have fared out in pre-season before making a final decision on whether or not to continue with them in the League as well.

17 thoughts on “Primer on experimental rules

  1. Thanks Willie Joe – great GAA graphics to help us all. Think the 3 handpass rule is daft; refs will be driven up the wall. Other ones are good I think and should help. Mayo, as an attack-minded team should benefit.

  2. I hear the hand pass rule didn’t go down well in the Tyrone game tonight. The advanced mark graphic indicates that you need to be beyond an oponents 45 when you kick the ball to claim the mark. So that means you cannot claim a mark when kicking for midfield. Is that correct?

  3. Thanks WJ. Anything which helps to minimize the stream of uncontested hand passes and overcrowding of one half of pitch is an improvement

  4. I just noticed that there are mostly blue jerseys in all the graphics, I am still wondering if these new rules are being tested / implemented to put a halt to the Dubs.
    Like all great teams, the Dubs will probably adapt easily to those changes.
    One rule that suits the Dubs most of all is the kickout, no change to this rule.

  5. NiallMc1983 – there’s an error in that graphic on the advanced mark, which the piece in the Examiner that I’ve linked to explains. The player kicking the ball in needs to be no further forward than the opposition’s 45m line but the graphic mistakenly shows the kick occurring further forward.

    Done Deal – yes, I believe that this is possible.

  6. I like the look of the rule changes. Anything to cut out the negative lateral hand passing for the sake of possession football we’ve seen in recent years.
    The referee will need more assistance from his linesman to keep tally of the hand pass count though.
    A Happy Christmas to all who frequent the blog here. Here’s to 2019.

  7. I have an open mind re the rules, the sin bin is much needed and will make a difference as will the mark. The hand pass however I’m not so sure about, it won’t end lateral passing, three hand pass, short kick backwards, three hand passes. Those expecting a long forward kick following 3 passes will be disappointed. Also I think the hand pass rule should not apply when inside the opposition’s 20, for example Andy is in possession after 3rd hand pass, Lee makes a great run but Andy can’t make the off load, rules should reward good attacking play not hamper it.

    Mayo88, I disagree with you ‘re the kick out rule, this will seriously affect Dublin and most keepers. Cluxton has to go to the 20 yard line to take kick out, this will slow down those quick kicks he likes. Also taking kick out from the 20 condenses the field available to him so makes it easier to pressure the kick

  8. Would b interesting to see how many of the goals in this year’s championship would not have counted under the new rules- especially the three hand pass rule. I would think most goals are still scored by fast balls kicked into space in front of forwards and perhaps a player coming off the shoulder. Very few goals are scored by slow ponderous build up. When teams attack now- they will have to get into the mentality of kicking the ball. Forwards that give a handpass now just for the sake of it are putting the forward move into danger of been chocked up by the defence who will look to pounce after the third hand pass. It should give us a faster game – hopefully.

  9. I think you’re right SME. Another item JH will have to plan for. Do we kick into space for explosive forwards or attempt line breaks with explosive halfbacks plus AOS?

  10. MayoMad, you are spot on, especially hand passes inside the 20. I can live with rest of the changes but scrap that one.

  11. Could someone enlighten me on the thinking behind the new FBD format?

    Let’s say we beat Leitrim (an assumption only). Leitrim will have had one game in January. Meanwhile, their, mostly Leinster/Ulster/Munster, opponents in Div 4 will have had football since December.

    I thought the purpose of preseason competitions was to give teams games to prepare for the league.

  12. @catcol the FBD competition is hanging by a thread. This yet another new format is Mr Prenty’s way of keeping it going. On the new rules, no problem with them apart from the 3 handpass rule which i think i also daft and i hope such a rule is scrapped before the NFL.

  13. Agree with four of the five rules. Sinbin for 10 min is long overdue and is an obvious way to punish a team and the player committing the offence to a reasonable degree (10 min) without being too excessive. I really hope the mark inside 45m is not brought in though, it will be a farce. Are we going to bring in an oval ball and play on a footy oval too? Because we might as well play AFL if this rule is made permanent. Can see it already, the likes of dean rock and Cillian getting handy free “set shots” as they say in AFL, every time they catch a 20m pass inside the 45. This was initially meant to be inside the 20m line, rewarding high fielding from players like AOS, Michael Murphy etc, not having them bottled up and conceding a free out. But this proposal is a classic example of throwing the baby out with the bath water. We don’t need to fundamentally change the game of Gaelic football in order to eliminate the problem.

  14. An interesting aspect of the three hand pass rule was explained to me last night by a ref who had been at a refs talk in in Bekan CoE. After three handpasses a player may try to hand pass the ball over the bar for a point BUT if the ball comes back off the post or crossbar it is an immediate free out. The unsuccessful attempt for the point is considered a fourth handpass. How complicated can you make it?

  15. I can see why players are not so enthusiastic about hand pass rule. They will have to be a bit more innovative in their play.
    Look forward as a supporter to seeing less of the endless uncontested passing and overcrowded defences.
    Happy Christmas everyone.

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