Rory Beggan keeping the faith as Monaghan look forward to semi-final clash with Tyrone
RORY Beggan is well on his way to an Allstar this summer, but it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the Monaghan goalkeeper.
First Eoin Donnelly rose highest in the Farney square to punch home a winning goal for Fermanagh and deny Monaghan a place in the Ulster final. Then Kerry’s David Clifford smashed a shot past him at Clones to keep the Farneymen waiting on a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals
Those two incidents aside, he has been outstanding and has so far added 17 Championship points to a series of unflappable displays between the posts. He produced another in sunny Salthill on Saturday evening when Monaghan booked a last four battle with Tyrone after a resounding win over Galway.
“It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s testament to the fans and they deserved that,” said Beggan after working his way through an army of jubilant Monaghan supporters at Pearse Stadium.
“They’ve followed us to Waterford, Killarney, to Leitirm and here and they’re just amazing fans.
“For such a small county, the amount of them that get out to support us is unbelievable and we hope to reward them again in Croke Park next week.”
Galway took an early lead last Saturday but Monaghan took command of the game after Fintan Kelly equalised. Beggan barely had a save to make in the game as the Galway forwards struggled to find a way through the Farney rearguard.
“We were always in control, I thought,” said Scotstown clubman Beggan.
“The boys took the right options on the ball, I thought. It was absolutely brilliant and we didn’t have to rely on lobbing high balls in the end trying to sneak it of us.
“We’re delighted to have had that bit of breathing space, but it’s going to be tougher next weekend. They were already in a semi-final so they that wasn’t a Galway team at full throttle. We’ll have to push on whoever we get next weekend and focus on them, try to get to the final.”
Sunday’s semi-final against Tyrone is Monaghan’s first since 1988. The Farneymen lost to Cork that day but they’ll hope to go a step further this weekend and reach the county’s second All-Ireland final (their only other previous appearance came in 1930 and ended in a 3-11 to 0-2 loss to Kerry.
“People were sort of saying ‘Monaghan are a quarter-final team, that’s their limit’,” Beggan reflected. “We wanted to put that right, we haven’t shown up in a couple of quarter-finals, but in the three quarter-finals we played in the Super 8s, we felt we played very well and deserved to be on five points, maybe six.
“We’re just delighted to be through, to have topped the group to give us that extra day to relax and focus on the opposition.
“People were on about avoiding Dublin, but we know that we have to beat the best to win it so we’re just going to take on Tyrone up in Croker and hopefully we’re going to put in a performance like that, and maybe improve on a few little areas.
“It’s hard to put into words that we’re finally in a semi-final after a couple of years of hurt.”