Tuesday 15 October 2019

Goalkeepers can play football too - Beggan

Rory Beggan in action for Scotstown against Burren at Páirc Esler, where victory capped a perfect weekend for the Monaghan All-Star. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Rory Beggan in action for Scotstown against Burren at Páirc Esler, where victory capped a perfect weekend for the Monaghan All-Star. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

It was probably the biggest roar of the day. When Rory Beggan wandered upfield most expected a shot on goal.

The free was from just inside the 45m line, a sand wedge for someone with Beggan's distance off the ground, but he spotted a chance and went short to Frank Caulfield who returned possession. Beggan made no mistake from inside the 'D', sending the travelling Scotstown support into raptures.

"I was running up and Frank (Caulfield) was just there on his own and I tried it," Beggan said afterwards.

"I chipped it to him and did a give-and-go. I didn't want Frank shooting from there! He gave the ball back and if I had missed from there, I wouldn't have been coming up again."

Burren had been caught off guard but it shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Beggan landed a point from play in a Monaghan senior league game against Clontibret last year and as the Down men came charging back into the game, he continued to wander out from goal, offering himself as an outlet as Burren pressed hard with the game on the line.

It can look high-risk but it's not something Beggan plans on taking out of his game any time soon.

"I think it's 'keeper's initiative, really," he reflected.

"There is always space there when teams are attacking and when you are going down the side of the field nobody is focusing on the goalkeeper, everyone is focusing on their own man. If you get that space, why not? Goalkeepers can play football too. I'm sure teams will clamp down on it after today.

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"I'll always be an option because you could see at the end there teams are pinning us back and I'm the extra man, so I might as well help us out."

The win over Burren put Scotstown into an Ulster club SFC semi-final against Derry champions Coleraine and capped a big weekend for Beggan who was named as All-Star goalkeeper on Friday night.

"Players will tell you and it's the truth - you don't think about an All-Star, it's about trying to help the team and I suppose if an All-Star nomination comes at the end of the year that's brilliant, and if you win the All-Star it's even better.

"I'm not going to hide the fact that it's an absolute privilege to win it. Every footballer will tell you that. You could see the impact it had on my family and the club and there's only one other person that's won one at our club and that's Ray McCarron (in 1986). That adds a wee bit to it. I was delighted, it could have been a distraction this weekend but I tried to make it not to be.

"In another way it took my head off the game a wee bit. You can sit up all week and think about the game, but in fairness once I got down the road on Saturday morning I just got my head completely on this game (against Burren) and I think that helped me a wee bit."

Coleraine in a fortnight are next on the list. They'll have at least some insight into the Derry champions seeing as Darren Hughes's wife hails from the town.

"It's been Slaughtneil and Ballinderry over the last number of years and Coleraine have come in now and I suppose they'll want to be the next Slaughtneil or Ballinderry in Derry. They're not going to rest on their laurels; it's an Ulster semi-final and it's going to be an even tougher test the next day for us."

Should they win there, Beggan will miss out on the All-Star trip to Philadelphia. It's a price Beggan would only be too happy to pay.

"It doesn't matter to me, my aim is to win trophies with the club. I can go to Philadelphia any other day of the year. If I get to an Ulster club final that's my focus and if we're not then you can talk about the trip. But my main focus is an Ulster club final and getting there and Coleraine are standing in the way of that."

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