Potential blow for Monaghan as Rory Beggan secures try-out with Carolina Panthers

The goalkeeper will head Stateside this weekend as part of a rookie “mini-camp”, as will Mark Jackson of Wicklow.

Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan celebrates with team-mate Donal Morgan
Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan celebrates with team-mate Donal Morgan

Rory Beggan and Mark Jackson will aim to follow in the footsteps of Down’s Charlie Smyth, as the netminders head out to “rookie mini-camps” with the Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers respectively this weekend.

Beneficiaries of former Connacht Rugby star Tadhg Leader’s ‘Leader Kicking’ initiative, the pair were named on the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) programme back in January, alongside Smyth.

With Monaghan facing a trip to Killarney to meet Kerry in the All-Ireland group stage opener next Saturday, it seems improbable that the Scotstown man will be between the sticks, having made a solitary appearance this year in the Ulster Championship defeat to Cavan.

His lengthy right boot has seen him nail kicks from as far out as 70 yards, with this latest camp a huge opportunity to secure a professional contract.

Oisin McConville
Wicklow manager Oisin McConville celebrates his side's win over Westmeath Picture: Sportsfile (David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

Meanwhile Jackson will have stiff competition, as The Steelers already have Chris Boswell and Matthew Wright on their roster as kickers.

That does comes with the caveat of teams being permitted to sign IPP players as training squad members. Steelers currently have no rookie kicker available to train.

Jackson, like Beggan, had returned home prior to Wicklow’s provincial opener against Westmeath, with Oisín McConville resisting the urge to reinstate the 25-year-old to the starting line-up.

McConville’s charges will now be without their number one once more for the short-term at least, as they open their Tailteann Cup campaign this weekend with an away clash against Fermanagh.