I recently had the chance to catch up with Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers. I attended Colaiste Ide with Gary and since then he has gone on to play for a host of teams in the League of Ireland, experience the Champions League and train with the Republic of Ireland team under Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane. Gary talks about how his career got going, playing in the Champions League, his funniest moment and that infamous moment from the Dublin derby between St. Pats and Shamrock Rovers.
Gary, thank you for coming on and being part of the “Coaches Series”. It’s great to catch up with you. For those unfamiliar with your story can you tell me how you ended up playing League of Ireland?
I got into the league because my dad was doing a physical therapy course with Tony McCarthy who was playing for Shelbourne FC. He was telling Tony that I was doing well with the NEC Meath team. Tony invited me up to train with the first team goalkeeping coach and I was signed by Mick Neville for the under 19 team.
We were both at Colaiste Ide at the same time many many years ago now where Jim Conroy was a big influence on a lot of players. Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far?
My parents have been a the biggest influence on my career. However I would say that I have learned from every coach through my career and I am still learning.
For up and coming goalkeepers, what advice would you have for anyone looking to make the grade in League of Ireland?
Listen to your coach and work hard. Hard work is the foundation of every successful athlete.
What was the most memorable moment of your career thus far?
Winning my first league title at Sligo Rovers in 2012.
Gary, you have played in the Champions League, how does that rate in your playing career overall compared to the silverware you have hauled in domestically?
It’s hard to know how to rate it but a special feeling playing in the Champion League, when you line up before the game and they Champions League music comes on. These are the days you dream about and the games that you want to play in.
Who would you say is the most talented player you have played with and against over the course of your career?
Joseph Ndo is the best I’ve played with and the best I played against is Roy Keane.
In comparison to the last question, who is the biggest character you have had the pleasure of being team mates with?
Romuald Boco at Sligo Rovers, brilliant character.
You have been lucky enough to experience a vast amount of derby games in the League of Ireland. What was the most heated atmosphere you’ve played in and why?
Dublin derby on St Patrick’s days (St. Pats v Shamrock Rovers) I had a fan run on to the pitch during the game to start a fight with me.
You have done some coaching in the GAA, how did it go and is there a lot of carryover from soccer to Gaelic football?
I enjoy working with the GAA goalkeepers. The basics of goalkeeping are the same but the coaching is tailored to suit the different needs and skills of the GAA keeper.
As a football player, I have to ask you, what is your favorite pair of boots you’ve ever worn?
Very boring but I still love my Copa Mundials. Very old school.
What TV series is currently taking up time in the Rogers household?
I have a 20 month old daughter, Bonnie who is running the show here so I’m watching a lot of Pepa Pig.
Looking back, what is the funniest moment/story of your career that still makes you laugh to this day?
The best stories usually involve the kit man. When I was at St. Pats our kitman reversed the kit van into a pole on the training and smashed the rear window. His reaction was priceless as it was the only pole in the middle of 3 pitches!
Pictures courtesy of sports file, sligotoday.ie and the Irish daily mail.