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'I probably appreciate it now more than ever because I'm closer to the end than the beginning'

Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers made his 500th League of Ireland appearance during Friday night’s late win against Waterford.

Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers.
Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

A CONSTANT FIGURE in the recent success of Dundalk Football Club, goalkeeper Gary Rogers marked his 500th League of Ireland appearance last night at Oriel Park with another clean sheet.

The 36-year-old boasts three Premier Division titles and three FAI Cups between stays at eight different domestic clubs but has enjoyed the most successful period of his career under Stephen Kenny for the Lilywhites.

Oriel Park was the setting for this biggest of milestones and it proved another happy hunting ground. A Gary Comerford own goal in the 90th minute broke Waterford hearts as Dundalk grabbed all three points.

“It was looking like one of those days, but I think the game kind of felt like we were pushing, creating plenty of chances and causing lots of problems,” he said afterwards.

“I was more hopeful tonight than in other games that that chance would come and thankfully it did in the end.”

Friday saw Rogers keep his sixth clean sheet from six games this season, as the goalkeeper is yet to concede a Premier Division goal after more than 500 minutes of play.

Sean Hoare, Patrick Hoban and Stephen O’Donnell celebrate their side's goal Dundalk left it late to beat Waterford on Friday night. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

“It’s obviously nice to make a contribution to the team but the most important thing is that we went on to win the game,” he said. “The manner in which we did it too, I think we really took the game to them in the second half.

“Look it was nice to mark it with a clean sheet and a win. 500 games, it’s a lot of football. Hopefully there’s plenty more ahead of me as well.”

When asked if the he had another 500 games in his locker, the goalkeeper laughed: “No,” he replied.

“It took me 19 years to get to this point. If there’s another one hundred or two hundred, I’ll be very happy.

“I’m enjoying my football probably more than ever and I probably appreciate it now more than ever because I’m closer to the end than to the beginning. It’s important that you enjoy it now and get the most out of it.”

Following Cork City’s 1-1 draw away to Limerick last night, Dundalk are now just one point behind the reigning champions.

Dundalk FC v Legia Warsaw - UEFA Champions League Play Off 1st Leg The 36-year-old has not conceded a goal in the Premier Division this season. Source: Eóin Noonan

Kenny’s side beat City last week with a 1-0 victory at home, meaning the Lilywhites are hot on the tails of the double winners.

“There’s a real good spirit in the group and although things haven’t gone our way at the start of this season, I think that can help with the team spirit,” Rogers added.

“I think we showed it tonight and we showed it against Cork here too. At home we’ve been very good so far and I think we’re only going to get better from here.

“I really do believe that it’s a fantastic squad. I think the gaffer could put any of the 22 into the team and everyone would do equally as good a job.

“That’s the challenge for the lads in this team, because you have to play well every week in order to get your place.

“That will bring the best out of players because everyone is pushing each other on.”

Reporting from Caoimhín Reilly

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