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12th Dec 2023

Rory Beggan and Mark Jackson set to take part in American football trials

Patrick McCarry

Looking for a new adventure.

Leading inter-county football goalkeepers Rory Beggan and Mark Jackson are reportedly set to head for try-outs in front of NFL scouts, early in the new year.

Earlier this year, Daniel Whelan became the first Irish-born player in the NFL for almost 40 years after he lined out for the Green Bay Packers. NFL coaches, and scouts, have often looked at football and rugby for potential recruits. Fuelled by the success of Whelan and the likes of former Connacht star Tadhg Leader running kicking sessions, and linking up with US programs, some leading GAA stars are getting their chance to impress.

As reported by The Irish Independent, Rory Beggan (Monaghan) and Mark Jackson (Wicklow) ‘are being lined up to kick in front of scouts from all 32 NFL teams’. The goalies will feature at a Combine in Indianapolis, which runs from Tuesday, February 27 to Monday, March 4.

According to the piece, by Colm Keys and Donnchadh Boyle, Beggan and Jackson caught the eye at an International NFL Combine, in England, in October. They are due to attend a week-long kicking camp in Florida in the early part of 2024.

There is a recently established rule in the NFL that deems all 32 franchises must have an ‘international player’ on the practice squad. This is essentially a reserve squad that the senior coaches can dip into over the course of a season. A few years back, former Wasps and England winger Christian Wade was in the back-up squad for the Buffalo Bills.

Both Beggan and Jackson are regular free-takers, and stand over 45s, for club and county. Both goalkeepers would ‘are expected to miss at least a significant portion’ of the 2024 season as they prepare for, and take part in, the combine.


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