Women's Rules                                             > Men's Rules




This page contains a brief version of the playing rules of Ladies Gaelic Football. The full version of the Playing Rules is contained in the Official Guide.




Ladies Gaelic Football is played on a full size GAA pitch from Under 14 upwards. The pitch may be reduced in size for Under 13 and younger grades.




A player who may be pregnant, suffering from concussion etc. should not play Ladies Gaelic Football. However should she play, she shall do so entirely at her own risk, and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association cannot be held responsible for any consequences that may arise.




The attire for playing Ladies Gaelic Football is jersey, shorts, socks and boots. Players cannot be allowed to wear jewellery, ear rings, hair slides or other items that may cause injury whilst playing Ladies Gaelic Football




1. Teams shall consist of 15 players a side unless deemed otherwise by the organizing body.


2. In 15 a side competitions a team must have 11 players to start a game. They may finish with 11 or less.


3. Duplicate list of players giving full christian names and in the case of Inter County games the clubs to which the players belong must be given to referee before game.


4. Five substitutions are allowed in Provincial and National Competition. However for games under the jurisdiction of the County Board, the number of subs can be increased.


5. Bicycle shorts are prohibited except with doctor’s certificate and must be the same colour as the shorts.


6. A size 4 football is used in all competitions from U-11 upwards. A smaller size 3 may be used in younger age groups.




1. In Provincial and National Competition, 5 subs are allowed during the normal course of the game. An additional 5 subs are allowed where extra time, which consists of 15 mins each way is played. Where a second period of extra time is played an additional 5 subs can be used.


2. For games that are played at club level within the county, the number of subs can be determined by the County Board. However they cannot be less than that as outlined for Provincial or National Competitions.




1. A player who is bleeding, has blood on her body or playing attire, as a result of an injury sustained during play, shall, on the instructions of the referee,immediately leave the field of play to receive medical attention.


She shall not return to the field of play until the bleeding has stopped, all blood cleaned off and the blood stained attire cleaned or replaced.


The injured area should be covered where possible. The injured player may be replaced by a Blood Substitute who shall notify the referee in writing, that she is a Blood Substitute.


The Blood Substitute shall NOT count as a substitute allowed under the normal substitution rules, if or when the injured player returns to the field, as a Direct Replacement for the player who replaced her. Where the injured player returns to the field of play as a replacement for any other player, apart from the Blood Substitute that directly replaced her, her team shall be deemed to have used a Normal Substitution. Where a Blood Substitution is sent off, her team shall substitute another player if they wish to bring the original player back onto the field of play.


This shall NOT count as a Normal Substitution. Where a team has used their Full compliment of Normal Substitutions in either Normal or Extra Time and a player suffers a blood injury, she may be replaced with a Blood Substitute. When the player who had the Blood injury is ready to resume playing, she shall present herself to the referee during a stoppage in play.


The referee should ensure that the bleeding has stopped, the attire is replaced or cleaned and that the Blood Substitute has left the field. Where the injured player resumes with a different numbered jersey, the referee should note the new number.




1. A player may pick the ball off the ground with the toe or with one or both hands, providing she is in standing position.


2. A player while on the ground may play the ball away from her, but cannot bring it into her possession.


3. The ball when caught may be: kicked, struck with the fist or open hand; hopped once with one or both hands or solo it toe to hand.


4. A ball that has not been caught may be bounced more than once in succession with one or both hands.


5. A player may change the ball from one hand to the other once, provided the original holding hand maintains contact with the ball until the change is completed.


6. A player may not kick the ball as an opponent is about to pick it up or take it into her possession.


7. The ball cannot be held longer than it is necessary to kick, fist, hand pass, hop it away, or move four steps.


8. A player may not throw the ball.


9. All deliberate bodily contact is forbidden but (a) Shadowing an opponent (b) Fielding (c) Blocking the delivery of a ball by an opponent shall be allowed.


10. Shouldering is not allowed.


11. Where a referee stops play to deal with an injured player(s), the team in possession of the ball at the time the referee stopped play shall retain possession on the restart. Play is restarted with a kick ball to the team that had possession. However that team cannot score directly from the kick ball and all players must be 13m from the ball when play is resuming. If none of the teams had possession of the ball when the referee stopped play, play is resumed with a throw in between one player from both teams.




1. A player holding the ball into her body cannot be tackled. Any attempt to do so will result in a free for her and her team.


2. When making a tackle to dispossess a player of the ball it must be timed when the player in possession is soloing, bouncing, kicking or passing the ball. The ball must be knocked from the opponents hand by flicking it with the open hand.




1. The ball is in play once it has been thrown in or kicked after the referee has given the signal to start play.


2. The ball is in play until the whole ball has passed over the goal line, end line or side line, or the referee signals a stoppage in play.


3. If the ball strikes the referee, a throw in should be given but if it strikes him/her from a free, the free shall be retaken.


4. A referee must extend time in each half for delays or extend time for a free to be taken.


5. When a clashed ball crosses the end line it shall be regarded as a wide.




1. The ball is out of play when all of the ball passes outside of the boundary lines of the field of play.


2. Should the ball strike any of the flags it shall be deemed to be out of play. If the ball strikes the corner or sideline flags it is a line ball.




1. A player may not:

(a) Trip by hand or foot.

(b) Pull down.

(c) Jersey pull.

(d) Strike, hit or kick.

(e) Jump at.

(f) Charge.

(g) Obstruct.

(h) Deliberately shoulder an opponent.

(i) Dive on the ball as another player is picking it up or about to pick it up.


2. The following fouls shall be penalised by a free being given to the opposing team and the offending player being shown a red card and ordered off the field.

(a) Striking or attempting to strike an opponent with hand, arm, elbow, head or knee.

(b) Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent.

(c) Stamping on an opponent

(d) Striking or attempting to strike or interfering with a match official.

(e) Deliberate charging of an opponent.


3. The following fouls shall be penalised by a free being given to the opposing team and the offender being cautioned and shown a yellow card. If she repeats any cautionable offence, she shall be shown a second yellow card, followed by a red card and ordered off the field. She is suspended for the duration of the game and any extra time that may be played.


(a) Pulling down, tripping by hand or by foot or jumping at an opponent.

(b) Threatening or using abusive language or provocative gestures towards an opponent.

(c) Blocking or attempting to block an opponent with the boot when a player is about to kick the ball from her hands.

(d) A sliding tackle with the boot or kicking the ball as an opposing player is about to pick it up.

(e) Dissenting with or challenging the authority of a match official.

(f) Deliberately delaying the kick out, kicking the ball away when a free is awarded, not releasing the ball to the opposing team when a free is awarded and deliberately not moving back 13m when a free is awarded.

(g) Interfering with a free taker by jumping up and down, waving or clapping hands or any other distractions. (Should this happen when the free is on the 13m line in front of goal a penalty should be awarded).

(h) Persistent fouling.

(i) The use of foul or improper language.


4. The following fouls shall be penalised by a free being awarded to the opposing team:

(a) Pushing or holding an opponent.

(b) Bringing the hand or fist in contact with the body of an opponent for the purpose of dispossessing her of the ball.

(c) Third player tackle.

(d) Over carrying the ball (5 steps)

(e) Throwing the ball.

(f) Lying on the ball.

(g) Picking the ball off the ground whilst not in a standing position.

(h) Bringing the ball into her possession off the ground while on the ground.

(i) Changing the ball from hand to hand more than once.

(j) Hopping the ball more than once after catching it.

(k) Hand passing the ball without a visible striking action.

(l) Fisting or hand passing the ball up and catching it before it touches the ground or before being touched by another player.

(m) Diving on the ball as another player is picking it up or about to pick it up.




1. The penalty for mostly all breaches of the rules is a free kick. Exceptions - throw in given for retaliation, foul at the same time, quick free deliberately played against an opponent.


2. A player has the option of taking all kicks except 45m kicks and penalty kicks from the hand or off the ground.


3. The ball shall be stationary, before a free kick, sideline kick and 45m kick is taken from the ground.


4. When a foul occurs, the referee may allow play to continue if he/she considers this to be an advantage to the offended team. Once the referee has allowed play to continue he/she may not subsequently award a free for that foul.


5. For the sake of continuity of play all free kicks, except penalty kicks and free kicks on the 13m line, may be taken immediately at the spot indicated by the referee.


6. All players must be 13m from the ball when a free kick is being taken.


7. Should a player taking a quick free deliberately play it against an opponent for the purpose of gaining an advantage, she shall lose her free and the ball shall be thrown up between a player from each side.


8. Should a player stand nearer than 13m, when a free kick, side line kick, or 45m kick is being taken or illegally charge a free, the opposing team shall be awarded a free kick from where she stood or illegally charged.


9. When a free kick has been given and the taker passes to a colleague who is less than 13m from the ball, the opposing team shall be awarded a free kick from where the recipient stood.


10. A free taker may not play the ball again until another player has touched it except where it rebounds off the crossbar or uprights. Should she do so, the referee shall award a free to the opposing team from where the foul occurred. Should the foul occur inside the 13m line the referee shall award the free on the 13m line opposite where the foul occurred.


11. If a foul is committed on a player after she has played the ball:

(a) A free shall be awarded from where the ball lands.

(b) Should she have scored the score shall be allowed.

(c) Should the ball cross the end line or land inside the 13m line a free shall be awarded on the 13m line opposite where the ball landed or crossed the end line.

(d) Should the ball cross the side line, the free shall be awarded from the point where the ball crosses the line.

(e) If the ball crossed the side line between the 13m line and the end line, the free shall be taken from the 13m line. 12. Should a player from each side foul at the same time, the referee shall throw the ball over the heads of one player from each side. All other players shall be 13m away.




1. A penalty should be awarded when:

(a) Any foul is committed by the defence within the small parallelogram.

(b) A personal foul is committed by the defence on an attacking player within the large parallelogram.

(c) Where an attacking player in the large parallelogram has her hands on the ball and the opponent kicks the ball, the referee shall award a penalty even though the boot may not have come in contact with the players hand. 2. Where a defending player charges illegally a 13m free kick directly in front of the goal, a penalty shall be awarded. 3. Penalties shall be taken from the ground at the centre point of the 13m line. All other players except the goalkeeper shall be outside the 20m line. 4. The goalkeeper may move along her goal line but cannot advance from the goal line until the ball has been kicked. 5. If the goalkeeper moves forward before the ball is kicked and the ball goes wide, she saves it or deflects the ball over the bar, the penalty should be retaken.


6. It is only the player wearing the distinctive jersey enjoys the rights and privileges of a goalkeeper.




1. Should an attacking player be within the small parallelogram before the ball enters it during play, the defending team shall be awarded a free out.


2. Should an attacking player legally enter the small parallelogram after the ball and the ball is cleared from the area but is returned before the attacking player has had time to leave the area, she shall be deemed not to have committed an offence provided she does not play the ball or interfere with the defence.


3. Provided she does not interfere with the defence when a point is scored from out the field and the ball is sufficiently high to be out of reach of any attacking player that was within the small parallelogram before the ball, the score shall be allowed.




1. After a wide the ball may be kicked from, the hands or off the ground from within the small parallelogram. The ball should travel 13m and cross the 20m line before being played by another player.


2. Should another player offend, a free shall be awarded on the 20m line, opposite where the foul occurred.


3. All players except the kicker and the goalkeeper shall be outside the 20m line when the kick out is being taken.


4. After a score, the kick out should be taken from the 20m line.




1. Referee shall tog out or wear a tracksuit.


2. A referee’s requirements are: Whistle, watch, coin, pen and paper, red and yellow cards. 3. A referee must:

(a) Possess a thorough knowledge of the rules of Ladies Gaelic Football.

(b) Be physically and mentally fit.

(c) Be fair and courageous.

(d) Communicate decisions clearly.

(e) Have regular observation with umpires and linespersons.

(f) Use commonsense.


4. The duties and the powers of a referee in addition to those outlined in the playing rules shall be:

(a) To protect players who want to play the game in accordance with the rules and to penalise those who infringe them.

(b) Sign and give a copy of team lists to the opposing team before the commencement of the game. Report any failure regarding receipt of lists to committee in charge.

(c) See that players are properly attired.

(d) Obtain, if requested by the captain or official, the signature, full address and club of any player whose name appears on the official list and that of any substitute taking part.

(e) Allow or disallow scores.

(f) Consult with umpires and linesperson when occasion demands and replace any of them should they withdraw before the end of the game.

(g) Deal with intrusions of unauthorised persons on the playing pitch.

(h) Take the names of any players or officials interfering during the course of the game.

(i) The referee shall decide whether grounds is suitable for play, to terminate a game because of darkness or for any other reason.


5. When a player, players or team refuse to continue with a game the referee should give the captain of the team approximately three minutes to decide their final intentions.


6. If the team still refuses to play, any player willing to continue should give her name to the referee.


7. Report the names of any players who get injured and the nature of the injury.


8. The referee shall take serious regard of personal fouls and in the case of rough or dangerous play shall caution or send off the player depending on the seriousness of the offence.


9. The referee shall have the power to override a linesperson or umpire.


10. After the game the referee should send on a detailed report on all aspects of the game.




1. The umpire and linesperson should work with the referee as a team (and bring to the attention of the referee any incidents that the referee may not have seen.) The umpires and linespersons have authority to take corrective action on any incidents that may occur and admonish any players who commit any off-the-ball offences.





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2008 Board Members


hairman: Mark Owens

Vice Chairman: Todd Ramsak

Secretary: Mike Wade

Registrar: Maureen Mohney

Treasurer: Vincent Beach

Youth Officer: Conor Hart





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