Rogers reflects on ‘enjoyable’ cup tie
Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers enjoyed the first ever Unite the Union Champions Cup clash at Windsor Park on Friday night, as the Lilywhites came from behind against Linfield to level the tie ahead of Monday’s second leg at Oriel Park.
The new cross-border competition pits the Lilywhites – as League of Ireland champions – against their counterparts from north of the border with the first leg played at the national stadium in Belfast, something that Rogers believed helped his bounce back from last Sunday’s FAI Cupfinal defeat.
“It was a very enjoyable game, coming to a fantastic stadium here and playing Linfield was a great opportunity to get back on the pitch after last week,” said Rogers.
“With the disappointment of losing the cup final, it’s great to have another competition to look forward to. Usually you’d have a three month gap at the end of the season where you’d have to stew over it before you get back in, so I think the lads were grateful of the opportunity to get out and play a game tonight.
“We didn’t start as well as we would have liked but we came good in the second half and got the equaliser and really tried to push on and get the winner.
“I think for the neutrals looking in, it was probably an enjoyable game and obviously it’s good for neutrals when there’s goals in the game. It’s not so good for us goalkeepers but, all in all, I thought it was a pretty good game.
“I enjoyed playing in it and I’m sure the other lads did as well. Now it’s all setup nicely for the home leg on Monday.”
After the disappointment of last week’s cup final defeat to Shamrock Rovers – which denied Dundalk their treble dream – Rogers was glad to focus on another game rather than head off on holiday.
Now the 38-year-old shotstopper – who signed a contract extension with the Lilywhites last month – is looking forward to the chance to round off the season in front of a big home crowd at Oriel Park on Monday night.
“I suppose we’ve been there before. We’ve had ups and downs in the cup final and it’s good to have a game and a training week, rather than thinking about it for a couple of weeks before going away,” said Rogers.
“Now at least we’ve another competition to play in and we’ve another opportunity on Monday to pick up some silverware and finish the season on a high.
“You’d imagine there will be a big crowd in Oriel on Monday night. It’s the last opportunity to see this team for this year. We’ve had a hell of a season, winning the league and the EA Sports Cup but just missed out on the treble, so it’s a great opportunity to sign off in front of our own fans and we’ll be hopeful of ending the season with another trophy.”