His name was at the centre of this week’s frivolous All-Star arguments, but newly-crowned All-Star goalkeeper Rory Beggan is keeping himself at the top of the agenda by scoring an audacious point from play in Scotstown’s Ulster club win over Burren on Sunday.
It was the highlight of a performance that showed Beggan continuing on from a summer of expanding his range of skills, as well as adding a long-range free in the second half.
“I chipped it to him (Frank Caulfield) and did a give-and-go. I didn’t want Frank shooting from there!” says Beggan of his point from play, “but he gave the ball back and, if I had missed from there, I wouldn’t have been coming up again!”
Of his growing list of duties, he says: “I think it’s keeper’s initiative. 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. 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.
Beggan was at Dublin’s Convention Centre on Friday night to pick up his All-Star. During a television interview, he acknowledged that his goalkeeping inspiration is Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton. Since the All-Star team was named, Cluxton’s omission has drawn criticism from various ex-players turned pundits, but it hasn’t spoiled anything for Beggan.
“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,” he said.
“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 not to make it. 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.
One possible fly in the ointment comes with the scheduling of the All-Stars trimmings. This year, the tour takes place in Philadelphia, but it will be over the weekend of the Ulster club final. Should Scotstown get the better of Eoghan Ruadh, Coleraine, in the semi-final, it will not cost Beggan a second thought, he says.
“It doesn’t matter to me. Look it, 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.”