Rory Beggan: ‘I kicked the ball and was like, oh, no’
Monaghan goalkeeper and All Star nominee on scoring from play, and new kickout rules
Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan during their GAA All-Ireland SFC semi-final clash against Tyrone at Croke Park, Dublin last August. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Ask Rory Beggan anything you want to know about goalkeeping and he’s not afraid to answer. Including what exactly he was thinking with that late, late outfield kick at goal in Monaghan’s All-Ireland football semi-final defeat to Tyrone.
A point down, three minutes into injury time, Beggan moved conspicuously out of his area and, without much warning, lined up a shot – only to miscue it, the ball dropping back into play, and moments later that was that.
“It was probably just a rush of blood and something I immediately regretted after the game,” says Beggan, reflecting on a still-memorable summer which next week sees him nominated for an All Star, having scored 0-18 from placed balls during Monaghan’s run. But did he really believe he was going to score that one?
“I just felt, ‘if I come up here, can I help my team any more?’ and obviously it didn’t impact at all. Look it, I thought I was closer than I probably was. I didn’t think I was as far out. That’s probably from not being up that area of the field too much. Yeah, it’s something I regret and I have apologised for.
“I never looked at the referee, I kicked the ball up in the air and was like ‘oh no’ and sort of turned back. I was sort of looking at Kieran (Hughes) as well, more so to see because if he won it we were in a great position. But look, we make mistakes, you have to move on. Players up the field should have been on the ball and I should have given it to them. It’s a learning curve, a steep learning curve anyway.”
Not without some precedent, as Beggan did a score a point from play for his club, Scotstown, last year: speaking at AIB’s announcement of their 28th successive year of the club championship, Beggan reckons it’s only a matter of time before some goalkeeper scores a first championship point from play.
“Yeah, it’s inevitable. Graham Brody [Laois], if he doesn’t kick one I don’t know if anyone will. Even the day against us he was up on the 21-yard line and still looking for the ball. In fairness to him, he’s good at it, he’s adventurous and he’s sort of brought that model through now of assisting the play.”
Brody and Beggan are up against Stephen Cluxton for the 2018 goalkeeping All Star on Friday week, and Beggan makes no secret of the fact Dublin’s six-time All-Ireland winner is the single biggest influence on his game.
“Of course, yeah, if you ask any young keeper in the country, they’d be the same. He’s probably been an influence on a lot of managers as well, in terms of style of play and so on from your own kick-outs.
I think the standard of goalkeeping, the standard of kick-outs now in any county has gone up and it’s a skill in itself
“He was the keeper I would have watched a lot and taken inspiration from, especially 2011 as well. He’s been up to those standards ever since and continues to keep his standards high. He’s still a role model for every keeper, and for every keeper he plays against as well. It’s obviously nice to be in the same sort of bracket as him and to be acknowledged alongside him.”
Speaking on his own behalf, Beggan is not a fan of the proposed rule change which would require all kick-outs to go beyond the 45m line.
“I’m a fan of one or two of them, the defensive mark and the sin-bin, but not a fan of the kick-out rule. I think the standard of goalkeeping, the standard of kick-outs now in any county has gone up and it’s a skill in itself.
“I don’t think you need to hamper that by forcing it that it has to go long all the time. I think you can see now that it has evolved and probably keepers are more going long, and for the short kick-outs that teams are pressing a lot more. Leave the kick-outs alone, anyway, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“There’s an awful big space between the two 45s, I don’t understand how it will bring back high fielding. I think you’ll find that the midfielders will probably become small, fast players where you’ll try to hit them in the space. So it could have the opposite effect. It’s probably a disadvantage for the team kicking the ball, and I think getting a score off your own kick-out, that’s one of the most satisfying things, because it’s become such an important area of the game now and it’s a big platform for teams to attack from.”