Paul Durcan is intrigued by the changing role of the goalkeeper in the modern game. Aiming for Donegal’s All-Ireland victory in 2012 as well as Dublin club Ballyboden St Enda’s All-Ireland in 2016, he is now one of Tony McEntee’s selectors with Sligo.
The former All Star was speaking on a press call after the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final, a trophy which brought him back-to-back success with IT Sligo in 2004 and 2005 and was won this year for the first time since 2003 by NUI. Galway.
Asked about the contemporary trend for goaltenders to increasingly play an outfield role, he suggested that the type of player deployed between positions could change fundamentally but also said he was in favor of the evolution.
“I like him. I don’t think I would have been on the pitch but it’s evolving and it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of player you put in there. Will you need an outfield player? But you also can’t forget that it comes down to (the main thing),” he said.
“Rory Began [Monaghan] is an outstanding stopper – Niall Morgan [Tyrone] is the same. They have this base and obviously they have the talent to be outfield players because they do it with their clubs.
“It’s a hard thing to get and I don’t think it’s something you can coach somebody. When you get a really good outfield player it’s very hard to put them in goals and put them in goals. get as goalkeeper.
“It’s trying to find that middle ground is what you want, it doesn’t matter who the goalkeeper is, he’s going to have to be a liaison man in defense with the teams, increasing in numbers now. You’re going to have to evolve and I think that will be the next phase, playing as an extra full-back to move the ball.
In the recent league game between Tyrone and Monaghan, the two keepers could have tackled each other, such was the sense of adventure – Beggan actually scored a point from the game.
Durcan, however, urged caution and said staying long and creating pressure at the other end of the pitch should always remain an option.
“For a goalkeeper to come out and defend or score a corner forward, he has to be exceptionally fast and be an exceptional scorer. Obviously possession is key, but we still have to look long. You can see when the teams are long and get breaks, maybe eight out of ten of them train in a goalscoring chance, so that can’t be overlooked.
“I don’t think they will become complete outfielders, but there will be an evolution to become a link man in defense and probably guys who can mark people will. Finding these players won’t be as easy as finding goalies.