All county football referees have been ordered to stop youngsters from playing immediately if they are not wearing a mouthguard.
GAA County Board secretary John Hynes has issued the directive this week, notifying all official football referees of the new rules relating to the use of mouthguards for all underage games in the county.
If a player fails to comply with a referee's instruction to use a mouth guard, the referee must first caution the player and order him/her off if he/she persists.
If a player refuses to leave the field of play when ordered off or re-joins the game after being ordered off, referees must “first give a three minute warning to the team captain, or the official in charge of the team, or the player(s ) involved, and then, if the player(s ) refuses to comply, terminate the game”.
John Hynes said most clubs had implemented the new rule for all u-18 teams, but a “small minority” had not.