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'It's mad stuff but it's pure entertainment': A new era of fly goalkeepers

Marc Ó Sé joined The42 GAA Weekly to discuss all the big Gaelic football talking points.

Niall Morgan and Rory Beggan have changed the game.
Niall Morgan and Rory Beggan have changed the game.
Image: Inpho

Updated Aug 6th 2021, 8:35 PM

THE EVOLUTION OF the goalkeeping position in Gaelic football took another step forward with the performances of Niall Morgan and Rory Beggan last weekend. 

As well as their netminding duties, the pair were responsible for covering space on opposition kick-outs, acting as fly keepers during open play, tracking runners into the full-forward line, putting over frees and even having shots during open play.

We asked if the Ulster final showed the way forward for the number one role on the latest edition of The42 GAA Weekly as Kerry great Marc Ó Sé joined Maurice Brosnan and Kevin O’Brien.

“There’s people looking at what’s going on at the moment with goalkeepers and they just cannot get their heads around it,” says Ó Sé.

“It’s mad, but it has to be said it’s very effective. It has been happening before. You saw the situation with (Stephen) Cluxton in 2019 when Kerry were a man up and he was out marking Tommy Walsh.

“There are situations where you do need to do it. It can be done for a kick-out. We worked on it very much so in 2016, particularly on set plays. Because you can set-up for a set play. That means if there’s a fella taking a free on your team, as a defence collectively you can push up and that’s what’s happening. 

“Then when the opposition are taking their kick-out, there’s nowhere to go really. You have to either bang it out the field and hope for the best and we’re seeing that.  

“For these two guys, Rory Beggan and Niall Morgan to bring it to a new level, it’s insane really. I have to say it’s pure entertainment. Even watching Beggan getting back there to make the tackle, my God I that went the other way and the ball is in the back of the net then all of a sudden it was the complete wrong thing to do.  

“Then you see the two of them, Morgan calling his bluff and kicking the ball straight out the direction of Beggan. We saw what came of that where the ball nearly went into the net. It’s mad stuff but it’s obviously stuff they’re talking about together as a group.  

“Even though it looks a bit mad what’s going on they are covering that area. We saw Peter Harte covering back for Niall Morgan and you’d wonder then why isn’t that Peter Harte up there and not Niall Morgan.

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“At times it is effective but there’s other times where I’m saying to myself, ‘Why is he up there now?’ The lucky thing from the Tyrone and Monaghan points of view is you’ve two players in goals who are ball players, they’re very comfortable with the ball. We saw Beggan nearly kicked the ball over the bar which was another very entertaining part of the game.”

There were plenty other topics for the lads to chat about this week with Kildare’s defensive blueprint against Dublin, Monaghan’s slow start and disappointing TV coverage also discussed at length.

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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