Gary Rogers became the league’s most experienced goalkeeper of all-time last weekend, surpassing Alan O’Neill, and marked it with a clean sheet. Now he hopes to do similar as he prepares to equal another legend in Cork this Friday.
It will be league appearance number 545 for the 37-year-old at Turner’s Cross, putting him level with Peter Hutton. Should he manage another shut out against John Cotter’s men then it will be another mini landmark as his 75thin the league for Dundalk.
After Friday only Owen Heary (565) and Al Finucane (634) will have played more league games than the Meathman and while he feels good enough to keep going for some time to come, Rogers says achieving silverware now is more important to him than any appearance records that might come down the line.
“A clean sheet on Friday would be a nice way to stamp it all right but hopefully I can just keep playing well and enjoying my football,” he said.
“The thing is to keep at it and hopefully we’ll have a good season.
“It was nice to keep a clean sheet on this occasion. Obviously I was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet last week but it’s a nice honour to be the league’s most experienced goalkeeper.
“It’s something I probably don’t appreciate as much now and I won’t until I look back on it. It’s a good achievement and I’m delighted to be still playing and hopefully I’ll be playing well for the remainder of my career.”
Rogers has played a pivotal role in helping Dundalk come from 13 points behind to ahead on goal difference in the space of 28 days but he is not surprised by the turnaround.
“Football changes pretty quick and when you have that amount of games in a short space of time you have the opportunity to go and accumulate points pretty quickly.
“We’ve been on a good run and playing well. We were disappointed obviously to drop a couple of points last week but I think tonight was a really good performance. We dug in there at times and ground out a good win. We had more chances to get a few more goals but all in all it was a good performance.
“The bodies are coming back into the team slowly but surely. Jamie McGrath is the latest to pick up a knock but you’d like to think around the break he’ll be coming back to fitness as well. The squad is excellent though and whoever plays is equally as good to go and do the job but it’s great to have more strength coming back into the squad as well.”
While Cork are not likely to challenge Dundalk for the title the way they have in recent years, Rogers expects nothing easy from the Rebels on Friday night.
“No matter when we play Cork it’s always a difficult game,” he said.
“There has been huge rivalry there over the last five or six seasons and that’s not going to change regardless of the positions in the table. We know we’ll have to prepare properly and go down there and play really well to go and get a result.”