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General Question- What is a ‘tackle’ in Gaelic Football?

  • 04-04-2022 12:34pm
    Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭

    Watched two games yesterday League 2 final and League Final.

    What struck me was the amount of pulling and dragging in both games.

    If I could single out one event where a player with the ball is confronted by the defense.

    Three players in front - the ball carrier just charges with the ball into the three defenders who naturally stand their ground.

    The ball carrier falls down and immediately gets a free kick.

    The strategy now seems to be to take the ball close up to the defender and then charge either at him or by him.

    How is the defender supposed to stop him without conceding a free?

    Personally I would suggest that making the onus on the ball carrier to get rid of the ball before initiating contact.

    I feel it would make the game more free flowing and less pulling and dragging.

    Any views or suggestions?


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    In the end of the day, the tackle is down to your own definition.

    One person might call something a tackle and another might not. For what it's worth, the definition the company I'm with uses:

    Tackle Attempt – A clear attempt from the defending player to physically hinder the opponent in clean possession of the ball

    Block Attempt – A clear attempt from the defending player to block either an opponent’s pass, clearance or shot

    Hook Attempt - A clear attempt from the defending player to hook either an opponent’s pass, clearance, solo or shot

    It's important then for those definitions to be adhered to for all matches we do

    -- -- --

    For what it's worth, Camogie use the rule you've mentioned: 'Personally I would suggest that making the onus on the ball carrier to get rid of the ball before initiating contact'. Unfortunately then it always leads to people berating the ref with the 'what the hell was she supposed to do', but like you said, once the player is in their stride, the onuse should be on them to not 'charge'

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,877 ✭✭✭Lost Ormond

    But it needs a far better definition. Saying a tackle is only just a clear attempt to physically hinder the opponent isnt good enough it needs to be far more defined to help players, coaches and officials.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    Never had any complaints tbh

    It's a defintion that's clear and easy to adhere to. Can't be deliberating over every single piece of contact in a live/post-match environment

    They then can view every one of them anyway and so far none have ever moaned/complained saying something wasn't a tackle nor have said we have missed loads

    It's the same with Opta for Soccer for example - The definitions are basic so there's no confusion

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    Football and Hurling (excluding the hook from Football)

    Just a small example - standing an opposition player in possession up doesn't get tagged as a tackle on our side. That could still be viewed anyway however by viewing 'take-ons' if the person in possession does actually try to take the defending player on and beat them.

    Definitions just make everything consistent. The person above that criticised it doesn't take into account that coaches/analysts want quick/easy to understand data. They don't need to be left querying every single event. It's the same with Soccer, Rugby, US Sports etc. Same with shot attempts etc. Definitions have to be stuck by, especially if providing data to Betting companies etc. too who pay big bucks for them.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

    Sorry can’t really understand your first paragraph.

    I just watched two games yesterday and was struck by the number of times the player in possession charged into the opposition player fell down and got a free.

    what puzzles me me is how does one actually defend that kind of ‘tactic’ without conceding a free.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    Cool - what part doesn't make sense in it and I'll try to expand. A free can still be given for barging/overcarry etc, so a tackle may not have been involved. Again, just for our definitions (and we provide to numerous Intercounty and Club teams) are the ones I listed above

    How one defends it is indeed a tough one, because you as a defencer are hardly gonna get out of the way to let the person through. By right who should be answering that are the GAA/Officials themselves

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

    Thanks c.

    what does “Standing up” a player in possession actually mean.

    I see u used the term ‘barging’ does that mean, charging with the ball ?

    We see a lot of that in hurling and football…… is it legal, as to my experience rarely see it punished.

    would cut out a lot of the pulling and dragging and frees if this issue was defined more closely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,745 ✭✭✭Xander10

    It depends on the Ref. And even then it can change from game to game.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    But it isn't, there is a specific definition in the laws of the game. The huge problem is that referees don't apply it.

    The big issue is that any tackle is supposed to be made on the ball, not on the man. Every single time you see a defender making contact with the arms, back, chest, whatever of the man with the ball, that is a foul and the referee should blow his whistle.

    Punch the ball, try to knock the ball out, those are valid tackles, you just won't ever see them because its easier for the defender to drag the man instead.

    I guarantee that if referees properly applied the law regarding tackles we would have much faster, more open and enjoyable sport. But that would be too sensible.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    There is no official definition of a ‘tackle attempt’ on GAA’s side

    There’s what constitutes a foul, but they don’t code/tag tackles, so don’t have a definition

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

    And therein lies the problem…how does the defender tackle the ball when the attacker bursts or barges past from close range with the ball firmly in his arms.

    Dublin have perfected the tactic of tip tapping the ball as close to the defender as possible, then bursting past in three or four steps…. Kevin mcMenamin is a good example. Very difficult to stop without committing a foul.

    I feeel that, c ertainly in ‘open play the onus should be on the ball carrier to get rid of the ball and not carry it into the tackle.

    This emphasis on possession in the current game also encourages hanging on to the ball at all costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,464 ✭✭✭dobman88

    There is no such thing as a tackle in football. It's a dispossession where you must play the ball, not the man. If you go to punch the ball and make contact with the man or hold him, it's a foul.

    Its hugely frustrating.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,108 ✭✭✭Boom__Boom

    From the rule book.

    Football: The tackle is a skill by which one or more players may dispossess an opponent or frustrate his objective within the Rules of Fair Play.

    A tackle is aimed at the ball, not the player.

    A tackler may use his body to confront the opponent but deliberate bodily contact such as punching, slapping, arm holding, pushing, tripping, jersey pulling or a full frontal charge is forbidden.

    The only deliberate physical contact allowed is that in the course of a Fair Charge one player only with at least one foot on the ground , makes a shoulder to shoulder charge on the player in possession.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,505 ✭✭✭crossman47

    Charging with the ball is a foul in both hurling and football but its rarely enforced. When the ref did so in an AIH final a few years ago to give Tipp a free that could have won the match, Cody went bananas.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

    Correct and based on what I saw on the League Finals it’s endemic in both codes.

    In my opinion if refs concentrated on this aspect of the games, the spectator would enjoy a game especially football with less ‘mullicking’ and frees..

    boom boom gave us the definition of the ‘tackle’ from the GAA….good luck with that ….that’s all I can say..

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,433 ✭✭✭beggars_bush

    Generally you're trying to run with opponent until they play the ball and then dispossess them. You'll often see underage teams very good at this

    Or smother them and not allow them play the ball by surrounding with 2/3 players. This is what county teams focus on.

    Tackling is all about technique- footwork, timing.

    Its a skill i actually enjoy coaching with kids. A good blockdown, steal or intercept can hugely lift a player and team. Very deflating for opponents too as they are unsure if it will happen again

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭Brendan Bendar

    Those are fine in theory BB but generally what I see in county games is the ball carrier, especially close to goal will ‘rush’ the defender who cannot get out of the way and make tackling the ball impossible.

    Then you have the player who has the ball and is confronted by a lone defender, get up close and suddenly charge past and is gone before the defender can block or tackle the ball. A free to the attacker is usually the outcome.

    I know what you are saying about running along side a player but rarely does that happen.

    Definitely needs to be cleaned up.

    Bit like rugby ‘not releasing the ball’ rule.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,464 ✭✭✭dobman88

    Why should the onus be on the forward to release after getting into such an advanced position.

    I'd flip it and put the onus on the defender to sort his feet out and try to read the game. If he thinks the forward is going to go at him, either stand him up or take a step back so you're in a position to stand him up.

    Wouldn't be a fan of a "release" rule at all as it would just lead to less scores in a game if the forward has to give up possession.