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27th May 2023

Roscommon legend questions Ethan Rafferty’s role as sweeper keeper

Lee Costello

Ethan Rafferty

“He’s miles away from being competent.”

Roscommon legend and former goalkeeper Shane Curran has questioned whether or not Ethan Rafferty’s ‘sweeper keeper’ role is worth it for Armagh.

Armagh just scraped by Westmeath in the All-Ireland championship, needing a late goal from substitute Conor Turbitt to seal the win in the end.

Rafferty was playing his usual role in nets, joining the attack from deep, taking men on and getting involved in the middle of the park.

Ethan Rafferty

His influence proved useful at times in the game, especially as Armagh looked rather flat and deflated from their Ulster final defeat, so the keeper injection of pace can really liven things up.

However, Curran isn’t convinced that he’s good enough at the goalkeeping side things and took to Twitter to express his view.

“Ethan Rafferty certainly brings a lot to Armagh’s play As for goalkeeping element of his game – he’s miles away from been competent Trade off – evaluations hmmm.”

Naturally the downside of playing an outfield player in nets is that they won’t have the natural goalkeeping abilities of other number ones.

Ethan Rafferty

This situation had rearer its head in the Ulster final against Derry when the game went to penalties and it felt as though it was instantly an advantage to the Oakleaf county, simply because Odhran Lynch is an actual goalkeeper.

Rafferty has made some brilliant saves during his time in nets, but the goal that he conceded in that final also supports Curran’s point.

A Derry shot had dropped short and Brendan Rogers got a fist to a shot that found its way into the net as Rafferty had misjudged it and too far out of his net.

The question isn’t one of Rafferty being good enough, because he’s actually been one of his county’s best players, and in that same final kicked two points himself, but if Armagh are looking to shore up their defence, then an outfielder in nets could be a weakness.

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