Rogers’ Tolka return a fitting venue for latest milestone

Rogers’ Tolka return a fitting venue for latest milestone

Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers will return to where it all began on Friday night and move ever closer to a piece of League of Ireland history.

The 38-year-old’s outing at Tolka Park will be the 565th league game of his career. That will put him level in joint second on the all-time appearance list with seven time league winner Owen Heary with only Limerick great Al Finucane now ahead of the pair on a whopping 634 appearances.

Tolka is a fitting venue for Rogers to reel in Heary given that it was the Drumcondra venue where the highly-decorated full back made the bulk of his appearances.

While the goalkeeper would realistically need to play every game this season and next to hunt down Finucane’s record, it’s something he is very much will to give a good go.

“It’s nice to be still racking up the appearances,” he smiled when the stat was put to him.

“I’m still enjoying it as much as ever and that’s probably the most important thing. If you’re not enjoying it, why do it?

“I’ve been fortunate to stay relatively injury free for most of my career and it’s nice to still be playing and playing well and hopefully that will continue.”

The Meathman said he was looking forward to a return to Tolka Park, a venue which has many good memories for him.

“Absolutely, it’s a great ground. They’re a fantastic club as well so it’s great to see Shels back up.

“I started my career there many moons ago. I didn’t actually play for the first team but I enjoyed the learning experience of starting out in football and it’ll be nice to go back there next week.

“It’ll be a massive challenge. Every team presents a different challenge and Shelbourne at home won’t be easy for anybody, never mind us. We’ve got to approach it right and play as well as we can and we’ll be hopeful of picking up the three points if we can do that.”

Rogers said the three points against Derry on Friday night was “the most important thing.”

He said: “The first game of the season is always precarious and I think we’ve had a couple of poor results in recent years to start so it’s good to come out the right end of it tonight.

“I think we pressed quite well and had a couple of shouts for penalties and a couple of good chances. We didn’t get them but the longer the game went it looked like it was going to be decided by the one goal and thankfully we got it.

“To be fair to Dane he’d always chip in with two or three a season and they tend to be good goals. It’s great for Dane to hit the ground running and get off the mark. It’ll give him a great boost for the start of the season.”

Meanwhile, Rogers was delighted to have kept what was his 90th league clean sheet for the club.

“It goes without saying that defensively we always want to keep a clean sheet. Over the last number of years it has been something we’ve been very keen to do but I think it’s the same for every team. We want to give the lads a good foundation to go and win the game and if we can keep a clean sheet then most of the time you’d fancy us to go and win the game,” he said.