GAA Football

Monaghan's Rory Beggan trying to get one over Tyrone not just Niall Morgan

Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan preparing to take a free against Tyrone in Healy Park.
Picture Seamus Loughran 

GETTING one over Tyrone, getting one (or more) over the opposition bar, were always the aims for Monaghan's Rory Beggan, rather than getting one over his goalkeeping rival Niall Morgan of Tyrone.

Honours ended up even, although the Scotstown man did top score with 0-3 in the third Division One draw of the day at Healy Park, and also achieved the rare distinction of scoring a point from play.

Yet Beggan insisted that his rivalry with Morgan, who beat him to the All-Star award last year, wasn't on his mind at any point: "I don't think of that going into a game, we'd maybe joke afterwards on WhatsApp or whatever. It's not that I'm looking to get one over him, I'm looking to get one over their team. We didn't get that, but…"

His score from play in the 50th minute was, understandably, greeted with a huge roar from the sizeable Monaghan support in Omagh, not least because it put the visitors in front for the first - and only - time in the tight contest, at 0-8 to 0-7.

Yet Beggan modestly laughed off finally doing what he'd been threatening to do for several seasons as a 'fly' 'keeper, saying: "Yeah, threatening and not doing it! It's nice to get it, and at that stage of the game to put us ahead.

"If I'm in that position - you'd expect your outfielders to score and I'm no different. The area of the pitch I was in, it should have gone over the bar.

"I didn't know what stage of the game it was but just delighted to get on the scoreboard. From frees or play, I'm just here to help the team and try my best."

He had scored a point from play for his club, as he recalled: "Yeah, Scotstown, Ulster Club. I've never scored [from play] for Monaghan before - I've missed all right! Look it, it's not expected of me but where I was, I'd have been disappointed if I missed."

Disappointment did follow when Monaghan managed only one more score, though, through sub Conor McManus, and especially when their number one missed a late free then passed up the opportunity to kick what would surely have been the winner deep into added time.

However, his decision to pass to full-back Conor Boyle, who kicked his effort short into Morgan's grateful gloves, was a consequence of that earlier missed free, explained Beggan:

With wind and rain swirling around Healy Park, conditions were very tricky in the second half both for Tyrone's kick-outs and both side's free-takers, noted Beggan:

"Yeah, you nearly need to miss a free to get to grips with it. I know from the first one the ball rolled on me and I had to take it back.

"I just had a feeling [at the end] that if it rolled again and I went to fix it he [referee Joe McQuillan] would have blown it up. So that was maybe playing on my mind a bit.

"I felt I had the ball in my hand, he [Conor Boyle] was free, but 'Boyler' has been an amazing player for Monaghan for the last number of years and he's going to continue to be. That score will not matter in the grand scheme of things. We've bigger and better things later on the year, it's a good run-in for us."

Monaghan might even have lost it minutes earlier when a 'point' from Tyrone replacement Paul Donaghy was ruled out after Brian Kennedy collided with Beggan, who felt he'd have caught that shot if not for that collision:

"I did, yeah. I smacked my head on the crossbar after it as well. I felt I had it, if I was fit to see it…"

Now, Monaghan look forward, to their first home match, against Mayo in Clones next Sunday: "We'll move on, try to improve for Mayo. That's the next test. Another All-Ireland Finalist, it definitely doesn't get any easier."

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