Darren Hughes: ‘Cluxton had a good year but Rory was better’

Darren Hughes says some of the criticism of his team-mate Rory Beggan’s All-Star award was “unfair” on the Monaghan goalkeeper.

Darren Hughes: ‘Cluxton had a good year but Rory was better’

By Orla Bannon

Darren Hughes says some of the criticism of his team-mate Rory Beggan’s All-Star award was “unfair” on the Monaghan goalkeeper.

Beggan pipped Stephen Cluxton to the number one berth on this year’s All-Stars team and the omission of the Dublin captain, who won the last of his five All-Stars in 2013, sparked fierce debate.

Hughes watched on as the selection was called into question and felt sorry for his Scotstown and Monaghan team-mate, who won his first All-Star for helping the county to a first All-Ireland semi-final in 30 years.

“I was surprised at the tone used,” said Scotstown skipper Hughes.

“They were saying that it was a robbery.

Cluxton had a good year but I think on this occasion Rory was better than him.

“They were trying to write one keeper off against the other and suggesting that was one was basically no good.

“I think the commentary was wrong. They are two top class keepers.

“Rory makes no secret of the fact that he followed Cluxton and models his game on him and I think Rory can now do stuff that Cluxton can’t do, but there is no doubt that they are two top class keepers and some of the commentary was unfair on Rory.”

Beggan scored a first point from play in championship football in Scotstown’s Ulster club quarter-final win over Burren. On Sunday he followed it up with a nerveless 45m free in the fifth minute of stoppage time to snatch victory over Derry champions Coleraine to book a place in the Ulster final against Gweedore on December 2.

Hughes wasn’t surprised at Beggan’s match-winning contribution. He sees him at close hand every night at training and wasn’t shocked to see him wander up the field late in the game acting as a decoy standing at full-forward while defender Damien McArdle kicked the equalising score.

Some day he will get caught doing that but he is comfortable on the ball, and he has got us out of jail on many a day and he is on a roll at the minute.

“His confidence is sky high and his kickouts are just spot on, every time.”

However Hughes admits Scotstown’s other county men will have to play a more influential role if they’re to win a first Ulster title since 1989.

“I would say that our star men, outside of Rory, did not stand up,” Hughes claimed.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that this has been my best year so far with club and county but I suppose the last couple of games with the club I have not been great.

“But you get designated roles and coming off the year with Monaghan, I came into this in good shape.

“I’ve been on the wrong side of many of those narrow defeats and it was nice to come out the right side of it. The boys worked it well. Rory coming out helped with the overlap, made the extra man.”

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