Subscriber OnlyGaelic Games

Rory Beggan will have his hands full as he awaits NFL decision

Scotstown goalkeeper will be among the winners at Friday’s annual GAA club awards ceremony

One of Rory Beggan’s first duties on returning home from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis will be to pick up the club goalkeeper of the year award at Croke Park this Friday night.

Beggan is the only Scotstown representative on the AIB club football team of the year, a selection that includes six players from All-Ireland club champions Watty Graham’s Glen, four from beaten finalists St Brigid’s, two from Leinster kingpins Kilmacud Crokes, one from Castlehaven and one from Naas.

The Monaghan native has been in America for the last month as part of Leader Kicking group preparing for the NFL Combine, which took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis over the weekend.

Beggan, Wicklow’s Mark Jackson and Down’s Charlie Smyth all participated as kickers on Sunday night, Irish time. Darragh Leader was due to try out with the punters on Monday but had a slight soft-tissue injury and was able to defer until a later date at the end of the month in Florida.


Beggan, Jackson and Smyth will now wait to see if their efforts at the Combine lead to the offer of a professional contract from any of the NFL franchises. Scouts from all teams were in attendance on Sunday.

Either way, organisers of Friday night’s AIB club player awards ceremony say Beggan has confirmed his attendance at Croke Park to pick up the accolade, which will be presented by new GAA president Jarlath Burns.

The club footballer and hurler of the year winner will be announced on the night as well – the shortlist for the individual football award sees Glen’s Conor Glass, St Brigid’s Ben O’Carroll and Kilmacud’s Shane Walsh in contention.

The club hurler of the year shortlist includes Paddy Deegan and David Fogarty, both from O’Loughlin Gaels, and St Thomas’ David Burke.

Unsurprisingly, Glen are the best represented side on the club football team of the year – the Derry outfit captured their first ever All-Ireland senior title with a comeback victory over Roscommon’s St Brigid’s at Croke Park in January, 12 months after losing the 2023 decider to Kilmacud Crokes.

Glass was the hero for Glen on the day, the midfielder delivering a man-of-the-match display in the final and dragging his team over the line to make history. Glass is joined on the selection by team-mates Ryan Dougan, Ciarán McFaul, Michael Warnock, Emmet Bradley and Eunan Mulholland. It is an all-Glen midfield of Glass and Bradley.

St Brigid’s are strongly represented in defence with Brian Stack, Pearse Frost and Ruaidhrí Fallon all making the team, while up front Ben O’Carroll has been named at number 13.

Kilmacud duo Paul Mannion and Shane Walsh are picked at 11 and 12 respectively, while Darragh Kirwan of Naas has been selected at full forward and Castlehaven’s Brian Hurley completes the team at number 15.

The club hurling team of the year has six players from All-Ireland champions St Thomas’, four from beaten finalists O’Loughlin Gaels, three from Munster winners Ballygunner and two from Ulster champs Ruairí Óg Cushendall.

Galway outfit St Thomas’ inclusions are goalkeeper Gerald Kelly, full back Fintan Burke, wing back Shane Cooney, midfielder David Burke, centre forward Conor Cooney and full forward Éanna Burke.

Kilkenny’s O’Loughlin Gaels have Huw Lawlor, picked at corner back, David Fogarty at wing back, Paddy Deegan at centre back and Mark Begin at wing forward.

Dessie Hutchinson picks up his third award in this scheme, with the former professional soccer player named at corner forward while his Ballygunner team-mate Peter Hogan is included at wing forward. Paddy Leavey completes Ballygunner’s trio of award winners, named in the middle of the field alongside David Burke.

Cushendall’s two selections are at either end of the field – defender Paddy Burke is named at number two while former Antrim captain Neil McManus is picked at number 15.


1: Rory Beggan (Scotstown)

2: Ryan Dougan (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

3: Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

4: Pearse Frost (St Brigid’s)

5: Ruaidhrí Fallon (St Brigid’s)

6: Ciaran McFaul (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

7: Michael Warnock (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

8: Conor Glass (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

9: Emmett Bradley (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

10: Eunan Mulholland (Watty Graham’s, Glen)

11: Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)

12: Shane Walsh (Kilmacud Crokes)

13: Ben O’Carroll (St Brigid’s)

14: Darragh Kirwan (Naas)

15: Brian Hurley (Castlehaven)


1: Gerald Kelly (St Thomas’)

2: Paddy Burke (Ruairí Óg, Cushendall)

3: Fintan Burke (St Thomas’)

4: Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)

5: David Fogarty (O’Loughlin Gaels)

6: Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)

7: Shane Cooney (St Thomas’)

8: David Burke (St Thomas’)

9: Paddy Leavey (Ballygunner)

10: Mark Bergin (O’Loughlin Gaels)

11: Conor Cooney (St Thomas’)

12: Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)

13: Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)

14: Éanna Burke (St Thomas’)

15: Neil McManus (Ruairí Óg, Cushendall)

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times