GAA Congress passes motion to introduce the mark

The motion passed at the annual congress by a very small margin

Although it seemed to be one of the motions that would face a tough path to being passed before the Congress this weekend, motion 41 was approved by the slimmest of margins. 

The motion proposed the introduction of a 'mark' to the game, allowing a player to claim a ball in the air and then decide to either play on or call a mark. 

According to GAA.ie, the exact rule will read:

"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".

If the player chooses to take the free kick, then the referee will allow the player five seconds to take a free kick, and opposing players must retreat 10 metres to allow the player space to take the kick. 

Should he choose to play on immediately, then the player is not allowed to be challenged for the ball until he has taken four steps or "one act of kicking, hand passing, bouncing or toe-tapping the ball".  

In order for the motion to pass, it needed a two-thirds majority, something which it very narrowly achieved as it was voted through by a margin of 62% to 38%. 

Former Armagh footballer Jarlath Burns spoke in detail about how the mark would improve the game, but the reaction has been mixed to the news of the mark passing, with some arguing that it will slow the game down. 

Central council will meet after the congress to decide when the mark will be introduced to the game, but reports suggest it could be as early as this summer's Championship.