GEELONG’S high-profile Irish recruit Oisin Mullin has backflipped on a decision to sign for the Cats ahead of the 2022 season, opting to remain in his homeland and continue with Gaelic side Mayo.

Mullin penned a deal to join Geelong as a Category B rookie in November last year, though debate regarding whether he would indeed make the journey to Australia has remained a constant ever since.

The signing of Mullin was seen as a significant coup for Geelong, with the 21-year-old widely regarded as one of Gaelic football’s best defensive players.

Oisín Mullin during the GAA All-Ireland Final between Mayo and Dublin at Croke Park in 2020. Picture: Getty Images

He recently claimed the GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year award - Gaelic football’s equivalent of the NAB AFL Rising Star award - for the second consecutive season in 2021.

However, Mullin confirmed over the weekend that he would reject the chance to join Geelong, where he would have linked up with fellow Irish recruits Zach Tuohy and Mark O’Connor at GMHBA Stadium.

"Going to Australia to play professionally was a really interesting opportunity and it was something I wanted to research and consider in detail," Mullin said.

"It was a big decision for me as playing for Mayo with my friends is a huge honour and something I love doing, so I wanted to take the time to consider all aspects of it. After some careful thinking and a lot of support from family, I have decided to stay in Ireland and I am really excited about joining up with the Mayo Senior Football panel as soon as possible.

"I am grateful to everyone who helped me during the process. I especially want to send my appreciation to everyone at Geelong Football Club. I want to thank them for their understanding and wish them every success for the future."