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Rory Beggan and Mark Jackson back from NFL for championship action

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Monaghan goalkeeper takes part in weekend camp with Farney men

Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Wicklow’s Mark Jackson. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

thumbnail: Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
thumbnail: Wicklow's Mark Jackson. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Rory Beggan and Mark Jackson have both returned home from their NFL sojourn and could feature for their respective counties in this weekend’s opening sequence of championship games.

The pair returned to Ireland in the middle of last week, having spent up to six weeks trialling to become NFL kickers.

Both Beggan and Jackson still hold out hope of being signed by one of the franchises after last week’s move by New Orleans Saints to offer a three-year contract to Down goalkeeper Charlie Smyth.

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But attention could turn to football championship games in Ulster and Leinster this weekend with Beggan’s Monaghan involved in an Ulster football championship opener against Cavan in Clones and Jackson’s Wicklow engaged with Division 3 champions Westmeath.

Smyth, Beggan and Jackson, together with former Connacht rugby player Darragh Leader, went to the US in February as part of the International Player Pathway (IPP) programme, spending a few weeks practising at a Florida base before taking part in the international combine in Indianapolis.

With apparent interest from clubs after performing well at the combine, the quartet, who had originally planned to be back in early March, stayed on for a further three weeks.

They kicked at a University of South Florida Pro day last week, after which Smyth was invited to train with New Orleans Saints before signing.

But without a concrete offer Beggan and Jackson opted to come home and Beggan was involved with his Monaghan colleagues in a training camp over the weekend, raising the possibility of weekend involvement for their long-serving goalkeeper.

Wicklow have missed Jackson, resulting in relegation from Division 3 but his potential involvement in the next few weeks is not clear.

Beggan and Jackson can both be signed by a franchise at any stage in the coming months ahead of the new season.

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