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Beggan answers criticism over his maiden All-Star award

 

By Declan Bogue

Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan has shown that he will not be deterred by the chorus of criticism that came his way in the wake of his maiden All-Star last week.

No less than former Dublin player Ciaran Whelan and Kerry's Tomás Ó Sé and Pat Spillane have been highly critical of the All-Star selection committee's decision to opt for the Monaghan ace in favour of Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton.

Beggan answered that criticism on Sunday by landing a point from play against Burren in Scotstown's Ulster Club quarter-final victory in Newry, and while that feat is remarkably rare, he had already managed it last year in a league game against Clontibret.

Describing the score, he said: "I was running up and Frank (Caulfield) was just there on his own and I tried it. I chipped it to him and did a give-and-go. I didn't want Frank shooting from there!

"But he gave the ball back, and if I had missed from there I wouldn't have been coming up again."

Beggan's overall involvement in the game is over and above what any other goalkeeper is doing at present - he is a constant outlet for ball playing around the midfield zone while in possession.

"I think it's keeper's initiative, really," he said. "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. I'll always be an option because you could see at the end teams are pinning us back and I'm the extra man, so I might as well help us out."

Beggan's weekend began when he picked up the All-Star on Friday night at Dublin's Convention Centre, and when interviewed as part of the broadcast, he paid tribute to his rival Cluxton as his goalkeeping inspiration.

Reflecting on the award after Sunday's victory, he said: "Players will tell you this, 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 (1986).

"That adds a wee bit to it. I was delighted, it could have been a distraction this weekend but I tried to make sure it wasn't.

"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.

"It could have been a distraction and I could have used it as an excuse. I'm just delighted to get over the line."

Next up for Scotstown is Derry champions Eoghan Rua, Coleraine. While they may be dark horses in this competition, they have several players who have played for Derry, including all the McGoldrick brothers, Niall Holly and Declan Mullan.

Scotstown midfielder Darren Hughes will be familiar with some of them as his wife Orla is from the area.

Beggan said: "It's been Slaughtneil and Ballinderry over the last number of years and Coleraine have come in now, and 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 for us."

Should Scotstown progress, one slight dampener could await Beggan in that the All-Stars trip to Philadelphia is over the same weekend as the Ulster Club final.

The Tydavnet man says it is no issue for him personally.

"My aim is to win trophies with the club. I can go to Philadelphia any other day of the year," stated Beggan.

"If I get to an Ulster Club final, that's my focus, and if we're not then you can talk about the trip."

Meanwhile, a sub-committee set up by the Antrim county board interviewed former county hurling manager Kevin Ryan for the vacant position last night.

Ryan was in charge for three seasons previously and left feeling disappointed at the commitment from players.

Belfast Telegraph

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