Ciarán Whelan labels the introduction of the mark to football as "off the wall"

The motion to introduce the mark was passed at the GAA Annual Congress over the weekend.

Ciaran Whelan, Mark, GAA,

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

The GAA's Annual Congress took place in Carlow on the weekend, with a number of motions making the cut, and many more getting rejected.

While moves to change the schedule to avoid burnout and impose restrictions on the broadcast right for inter-county games were rejected, one of the motions that has been making a lot of headlines was the move to introduce the mark to football. 

The motion proposed that a player be allowed to claim a ball in the air and then decide to either play on or call a mark. 

Former Dublin player Ciarán Whelan, who has been involved in a Dublin underage set-up that has been trialing the mark, described the move as "off the wall stuff".

Speaking on RTÉ, Whelan stated that "if I was looking at it in the context of the game from ten years ago, I could probably see the logic around it as the game was a lot different then", but that it didn't make sense to introduce it in the modern era. 

He added that "the amount of kick outs that go out long in a 50-50 scenario has reduced considerably. We have trialed this over the last three weekends and less than 50% of the kick-outs go into that midfield area." 

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

"Even when a midfielder does win the mark and he's coming down into space, it's better to keep the flow of the game going - you want the player to move with the ball straight away. There will be a very limited advantage for bringing in the mark". 

One of the best high fielders in recent memory, Whelan isn't the only major figure who has been speaking out against its introduction, with both Aidan O'Shea and Michael Darragh MacAuley tweeting about its inclusion. 

Underlining his view that the game had changed significantly, Whelan summed up by saying "we can't live in the past and bring old traditions back into the game".