News Sports Rory Beggan and Irish Quartet Shine at NFL Combine
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Rory Beggan and Irish Quartet Shine at NFL Combine

When the NFL's international regular-season game debuted in Wembley back in 2007, American football lagged behind other sports in attracting global talent. Baseball, basketball, and ice hockey had already welcomed international stars to their leagues.

Fast forward to today, and the NFL is on a mission to become America's greatest sporting export. With games scheduled in London, Munich, Madrid, and Sao Paulo, the league aims to make 'America's Game' a global phenomenon.

The Golden Opportunity

Enter Rory Beggan, Mark Jackson, Charlie Smyth, and Darragh Leader – four Irish athletes ready to kick their way into the NFL. These Gaelic football goalkeepers and rugby players have a chance to impress at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Rory Beggan's Perfect Performance

Rory Beggan stole the spotlight in Tampa, Florida. The Monaghan man didn't miss a single kick during the showcase, going 10 for 10. His kick-outs caught the attention of scouts from 31 NFL teams. Beggan's poised and ready for any challenge that comes his way.

Mark Jackson's Improvement

Wicklow goalkeeper Mark Jackson scored seven out of ten field goal attempts. His kicking accuracy and height have notably improved, and he showcased his punting skills as well.

Charlie Smyth's Youthful Talent

Mayobridge's Charlie Smyth went eight for ten with impressive field goal attempts. His athleticism and youth position him well for an NFL signing.

The NFL's International Player Pathway (IPP) program provides this golden opportunity. Last season, eight IPP graduates made it onto NFL squads, and a recent rule change ensures each team must have at least one international player on their practice squads.

For these Irish kickers, it's both a chance and a challenge – a chance to shine and a challenge to break into a position where each team has only one kicker and one punter.

As the NFL continues its global expansion, these Irish athletes could become trailblazers, proving that Gaelic football and rugby skills can translate to success on the American gridiron.

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