Applicable 1 January 2017
When a player catches the ball cleanly from a Kick-Out without it touching the ground, on or past the 45m line nearest the Kick-Out 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.
The following procedures shall apply:
(a) Free Kick
The player shall signify to the Referee if he is availing of the free kick and then take the free kick himself from the hand from the point where he was awarded the ‘Mark’.
Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’, the Referee shall allow up to five seconds for the player to take the kick. If the player delays longer than five seconds, the Referee shall cancel the ‘Mark’ and throw in the ball between a player from each side.
Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’, the opposing players must retreat 10m to allow the player space to take the kick. If an opposing player deliberately blocks or attempts to block the kick within 10m, or if an opposing player impedes the player while he is taking the kick, the Referee shall penalise the opposing team by bringing the ball forward 13m.
If the Referee determines that the player who makes the ‘Mark’ has been injured in the process and is unable to take the kick, the Referee shall direct the Player’s nearest team mate to take the kick but he may not score directly from the kick.
(b) Play on immediately
(i) In this circumstance the player may not be challenged for the ball until he carries the ball up to a maximum of four consecutive steps or holds the ball for no longer than the time needed to take four steps and/or makes one act of kicking, handpassing, bouncing or toe-tapping the ball.
(ii) If the Player is illegally challenged, a free kick shall be awarded to his team from the point at which the challenge is made, and this free kick may be taken by any player on his team.
“The Mark” – Applicable 1 January 2017
Central Council gave an Interpretation as follows:
1. The referee shall award “the mark” by blowing the whistle.
2. “On or past the 45m line” shall mean that both feet of the catcher are on or past the 45m line when he catches the ball or on landing.
3. In order to signify that he wishes to take a free-kick, the player who catches the ball and has been awarded a “mark” by the referee should stop playing. If he does not obviously stop then it should be taken that he is “playing on”.
4. “Challenged” as mentioned in the rule is taken as “tackle” as defined; once the player plays on he may be tackled after four steps or once he plays the ball in any way.
5. All players must be at least 13 metres from where “the mark” is awarded.
6. When a player who is awarded a “mark” is injured, any team mate may take the free kick, which must be taken from the hands. The player in question may not score directly from the kick. (Current rule states that only the “nearest team mate” may take the free kick).
7. In order to be awarded a “Mark”, the ball must not have been touched in flight by another player.
Taken from http://www.gaa.ie/the-gaa/rules-regulations/the-mark