RTÉ GAA Pundit Pat Spillane has spoken out about the concept of a sweeper keeper.
It's something that's become more common in club and inter-county GAA setups over the past couple of years, with Monaghan's Rory Beggan and Tyrone's Niall Morgan flying the flag.
The former of the two was caught out over the weekend against Kerry in the Allianz National League. Beggan was at fault for two goals after being caught off his line.
He was near the halfway line when Sean O'Shea intercepted a pass that made its way to David Clifford who put the ball into an empty net, with O'Shea lobbing Beggan later on.
6 February 2022; Rory Beggan of Monaghan GAA during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Monaghan and Mayo at St Tiernach's Park in Clones, Monaghan. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Spillane Stance On Sweeper Keepers
Spillane spoke to the RTÉ GAA Podcast about the sweeper keeper phenomenon. "For years I've watched the evolution of this outfield, or sweeper keeper," he said.
"I was always biting my lip because I thought, 'This is a stupid idea but I can't say it because I'll be accused of living in the past.'"
A goalkeeper's primary job is to stop goals. If he was that good out the field he'd be playing there, not in goals. Once or twice in a game, an unexpected move, a bit of variety - I can see that - but they're all coming out now. These guys are on ego trips because they're on a powerful adrenaline push.
There have been examples of the sweeper keeper working in GAA, and more and more intercounty goalkeepers are stepping up to take frees on occasion.
Only a few weeks ago, Rory Beggan finished Monaghan's National League encounter with Tyrone as top scorer which included a fine point from play.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 30, 2022
"The crowd are baying and yahoo-ing and he's loving it," Spillane added. "The bottom line is the goalkeeper is there to stop the shot."
"A sweeper keeper should not come beyond the halfway line. There'll be a lot more opponents who took something out of Kerry's game plan yesterday and they will be targeting these keepers, particularly Rory Beggan."