"I don't agree with it and I never have."
That was Donegal manager Rory Gallagher's opinion regarding GAA congress' decision to introduce 'The Mark' to Gaelic football on Saturday.
With a 68% yes vote, congress passed the motion stating:
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.
Its introduction was met with immediate aversion from Mayo's Aidan O'Shea. The midfielder, along with Dublin's Alan Brogan, felt the rule should have at the very least been properly trialled first.
The mark was trialled during the league a number of years ago though was not adopted beyond that test.
Many of those who bemoan the proliferation of hand passing and short kick outs believe the mark could be the factor which returns high fielding to the game as a more regular spectacle.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Rory Gallagher further outlined his opposition to the mark.
I wouldn't agree with it at all. You could say it's rewarding high fielding. It's rewarding tall players is one way to look it. There's lots of skills in the game. I think you look at anybody who was at today's game, they'd say it was a classic game. Dublin and Monaghan last night served up a treat aswell.
Rob Hennelly gave an exhibition of picking people out on the run with his kick outs. I think it's wrong for it to be introduced. I think there's a few people very much behind it who wanted to bring it through.
Why should we isolate one skill in comparison to others? There's wonderful skills in blocking and attacking, kick passing and frees off the ground. Just let the game evolve.
Today was evidence of what's good about gaelic football as was last night between Dublin and Monaghan.
Also speaking to RTÉ, Roscommon joint-manager Fergal O'Donnell explained his belief that the rule will not achieve what those who proposed it intended.
I think we're changing just for the sake of change. I think that game proved today that if you had the mark the game would be stopped.
I know you can continue [with play]. I don't know why we have to bring in the mark.
We've got to work more on encouraging people to catch the ball. You're going to have lads catching the ball on their chest just outside the 45.
I don't think it's really going to achieve what people want; to bring back high fielding, the likes of Teddy McCarthy. It's not going to happen with the mark.
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE