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Rory Beggan on Scotstown beating Kilcoo: Any time we play in Ulster, a wee bit of chaos follows

Beggan was instrumental in Scotstown’s win over Kilcoo to move into the Ulster club semi-finals

Rory Beggan had one of those games against Kilcoo on Sunday that only Rory Beggan seems to have. The Scotstown goalkeeper took more shots than everyone else on the pitch. He raised more white flags than everyone else on the pitch. He kicked more wides than everyone else on the pitch.

Scotstown outscored Kilcoo by 0-6 to 0-1 after the 46th minute – Beggan kicked two points, had the final pass for another and won the kick out that led to another. Nobody was more crucial to the madcap ending. Or to Scotstown staying alive.

“It’s a chaotic competition,” Beggan said. “Any time we play in the Ulster club, a wee bit of chaos follows. Just nice to come out the right side of it. The linesman said the time was well up (as he stood over the last free).

“I had no doubt. I always back myself. The ones I missed in the first half, it wasn’t in my nature to miss those sort of easy ones. I said at half-time I’ll make up for them whenever they come along. Thankfully it was the winning one.”


Even though they have plenty of pedigree within their own county boundaries, the Monaghan champions were heavy underdogs against Kilcoo at the weekend. As Beggan pointed out afterwards though, it was not as if they went in raging at those perceptions. They had no business feeling slighted.

“I don’t think too many were respecting us at all,” Beggan said. “But, here, we haven’t done enough in this competition to be respected at the levels of Kilcoo and Glen. I’m sure a lot of people were tipping Kilcoo to win this and probably win it easily enough. I’m not saying it added fuel to the fire but it just means there is less pressure on you coming into the game.

“That underdog tag is not one we’re used to. We’re always favourites going into games in Monaghan. But to come in here as underdogs takes a bit of pressure off the shoulders.

“We have just been second best in a lot of the games – Kilcar, Kilcoo before, Glen. We just haven’t been good enough. The record is not good enough for this group and we know that. But this was a big one for us to get over. Anything can happen from a semi-final on.”

For all that they do not have a stellar record in the province – Sunday was only Scotstown’s sixth win from 12 games in Ulster going back to 2013 – they have been around the block enough to know not to panic. When Kilcoo pushed on into a 1-7 to 0-6 lead midway through the second half, Scotstown knew what to do next. Or more to the point, what not to do.

“I think that comes with playing a lot in this competition,” Beggan said. “Four points – if it had gone to five, it was going to be a really tough one to bring back. But when there was potentially two scores in it, we knew we had a chance. I thought we got some joy from the high ball in. We didn’t take a couple of marks we could have taken.

“We felt we couldn’t let it go to five. Even if it was a case of controlling the ball for two minutes and working a score. I always feel we have the players to get us out of holes. That’s what happened there – the likes of Jason Carey, who not a lot of people would know. Kieran [Hughes] there – me and Kieran wouldn’t have had a great day against Kilcoo in 2016. It was nice to put that right.”

On they go, then. Tyrone champions Trillick next, in an Ulster semi-final on the last weekend in November. It will be 10 months, more or less, to the day since Beggan’s season started, with a National League opener against Armagh. But the road has not felt as long this year and he is loving every minute.

“In fairness to Vinny [Corey, Monaghan manager] at the start of the year, after we lost to Ballybay, I asked for an extended break just to refresh a wee bit and he gave me six or seven weeks off. I’m just starting to feel the benefit of it now,” Beggan said.

“You don’t feel it when you’re with the club, really. The club is just at a different level. You might start feeling it in December or whatever but I got that break I never got before and I’m feeling the good of it now. I think a few of the boys are.”

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times