GAA Football

My club comes before a GAA Allstars trip: Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan

Monaghan and Scotstown 'keeper Rory Beggan will prioritise his club over an Allstars trip should there be a clash of dates

SCOTSTOWN goalkeeper Rory Beggan will put his club before an Allstars trip should the Monaghan champions reach this year’s Ulster Club SFC final on December 2.

The newly crowned 2018 Allstar cast will fly to Philadelphia on November 29 to December 4.

Scotstown are just one game away from reaching their second provincial final in four years with Derry champions Eoghan Rua, Coleraine standing in their way.

Asked about a potential clash of dates, the Allstar goalkeeper said: “It doesn’t matter to me. 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.”

Beggan was one of the architects of Scotstown’s nervy win over Down champions Burren last weekend.

Monaghan’s undisputed number one stole forward to hit a first-half point from play that raised the roof at Pairc Esler.

Beggan took a short free-kick, lending the ball to midfielder Frank Caulfield before splitting Burren’s posts.

“I was running up and Frank was just there on his own and I tried it,” he explained.

“I chipped it to him and did a give-and-go. I didn't want Frank shooting from there!

“But he gave the ball back and if I had missed from there, I wouldn't have been coming up again.”

Read more: Cahair O'Kane -  Rory Beggan taking on Stephen Cluxton's mantle and changing the game again

Beggan, though, doesn’t expect to be given the same freedom against the Derry champions on November 18.

On several occasions on Sunday, Beggan played like an outfield player.

“If you get that space, why not?” he said.

“Goalkeepers can play football too. I think it's a 'keeper's initiative, really.

"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.

“I’m sure teams will clamp down on it now. [But] 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 had a weekend he won’t forget in a hurry. After collecting his first-ever Allstar gong in Dublin on Friday night, he was helping his club reach the Ulster semi-finals on Sunday.

“In one way, it [the Allstars awards night] 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.

“It could have been a distraction and I could have used it as an excuse. I’m just delighted to get over the line.”

Beggan got the Allstar nod ahead of Dublin’s legendary goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton after a memorable summer where Monaghan reached the All-Ireland semi-finals.

“Players will tell you and it’s the truth – you don’t think about an Allstar,” said Beggan.

“It’s about trying to help the team and I suppose if an Allstar nomination comes at the end of the year that’s brilliant, and if you win the Allstar it’s even better.

“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.”

Forty-eight hours after accepting his Allstar award, Scotstown looked as though they would skate through to the Ulster semi-finals after completely dominating Burren in the first half.

But 13 wides kept the Down men in the game and in the second half the hosts rattled off six points in a row to make it a one-point game.

But stoppage-time scores from Shane Carey and Donal Morgan secured Scotstown’s last four berth.

“I just think we were making bad decisions, myself included and boys out the field,” Beggan said of Scotstown’s poor second half showing.

“In the first half the ball was sticking a wee bit better. That wasn’t happening in the second half but we’ll have to talk about that at training. We have brilliant footballers on this team, boys who aren’t marquee names that could turn it on and hit six points one day. If we get that out of everybody we won’t be far away.”

Beggan added: “We’ve been here before. It’s the second Ulster club semi-final we’ve been in as a group of players. I remember we played Trillick – a team we were expected to beat – and it went down to the last minute, the last couple of kicks. That just shows what the Ulster Club is about – no matter who you’re playing or if you’re heavy favourites, it’s not going to be like that on the pitch. I suppose people were telling us we were going to beat Burren, but you saw what they were capable of.”

After Coleraine dismissed Cavan champions Castlerahan last weekend, Beggan expects an "even tougher test" in 12 days' time.

Read more: Colm McGoldrick in the right place as Coleraine look forward to Scotstown semi-final

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