12th clean sheet for Rogers
Gary Rogers kept his 12th European clean sheet in last Wednesday’s Champions League stalemate with Riga. Shay Given with 23 is the only Irish goalkeeper with more European shut outs than the Meath man. He also now has two more than Republic of Ireland legend Pat Bonner while he is five ahead of his nearest League of Ireland challenger, former Cork City goalkeeper Michael Devine who had seven European clean sheets. Former Dundalk goalkeepers Richie Blackmore and Steve Williams both had six in their careers – the same figure as Barry Ryan. Wednesday’s game was the 40th European appearance of Rogers’ career. He will equal Ollie Cahill’s record for most appearances in Europe by a League of Ireland player should he feature in the second leg this week.
Landmark for Gannon
Wednesday’s game was a 250th career start for Sean Gannon and his 222nd for Dundalk. With Dane Massey an unused sub, he rejoined his fellow full back at the top of the pile as Dundalk’s most experienced European player in the club’s history with 23 starts and one sub appearance.
Champions League debuts
While all of the Dundalk starting 11 had played in Europe before last Wednesday’s game there were five Champions League debutants on the night: Sean Hoare, Daniel Cleary, Dean Jarvis, Jamie McGrath and captain Pat Hoban. Daniel Kelly came off the bench to make his European debut just over 18 months on from last playing junior football for St Patrick’s CY. Meanwhile, Daniel Cleary made just his second European appearance for the club and first on home soil but more importantly it was his 50th start for Dundalk in all competitions.
Robbie Benson continued his comeback from injury by coming on as a second half sub for John Mountney for what was his 125th Dundalk appearance.
History against Dundalk
Only twice in the club’s history have Dundalk failed to win a first leg tie at home and gone through in Europe. The first of those was 40 years ago in 1979 when the infamous 1-1 draw with Linfield was followed up with a 2-0 win away in Holland in the second leg. The last time it occurred was in 2016 when another 1-1 draw at home with FH Hafnarfjordur was followed up with an away goals win following a 2-2 draw in the second leg in Iceland.