Personal plaudits won’t fill the void of defeat for Gary Rogers
Dundalk goalkeeper bitterly disappointed by FAI Cup final defeat despite excellent saves
Dundalk’s Gary Rogers and Alan Bennett of Cork City clash in Sunday’s FAI Cup final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
He put in a man of the match performance but Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers took no satisfaction in the recognition of his excellent performance in the FAI Cup final as Cork City took the trophy south for the second year in a row in what was another thrilling instalment of this gripping rivalry.
The 36-year-old kept his side in the game on a number of occasions, most notably with a superb double save from Stephen Dooley and Karl Sheppard in the first half before ensuring extra-time came about at all with a point blank stop from Alan Bennett in the dying embers of normal time.
He even got a leg to the shot of Achille Campion which resulted in City’s equaliser and then, in what is the cruellest way for any team to lose a game, was beaten five times from the spot in the penalty shootout.
“It’s nice to play well in a big game but equally so it’d be a lot better to pick up the trophy,” Rogers said after the game.
“We’re just very disappointed because it’s not the way you like to lose a game but there’s no good way of losing a cup final. We were in a winning position but we just didn’t see it out. There was less than 10 minutes left when they scored but they did and then went on to win on penalties.”
For much of the game Dundalk dominated possession and looked the better team but they couldn’t break Cork down. The loss of Brian Gartland to injury after 90 minutes certainly had an impact in extra-time and John Caulfield’s double substitution to bring on Campion and Greg Bolger after Dundalk had gone ahead could be seen as the turning point.
“They probably had better chances but we probably had better possession in the game and were a bit more creative. But look, they’ve got a trophy there which argues the other way.
“(For the goal) we kind of fell asleep really. It was just one of those things where lads were playing him offside but he was onside. It’s unfortunate that it was a little lapse but, after 120 odd minutes, in a cup final you’re going to get that.”
In what was a high-class penalty shootout with plenty of steely nerve on display, Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty was the only stopper to make a save - from Michael Duffy - and that was what turned the tide in their favour. Rogers, like McNulty, had done his homework on the opposing penalty takers but, on this occasion, was outwitted. Karl Sheppard’s opening spot kick was the one that stuck most with the Dundalk goalkeeper as he had a feeling the striker would go down the middle but instead dived to his right.
“I had decided I was going to go down the middle for Sheppard’s penalty last year had it gone to penalties. I know he likes to go to my right so I think if it had have been the third penalty he’d taken I would have stood in the middle for it. I was expecting one of them to go down the middle at some stage but when the first one did I didn’t think anyone else would. I actually got a toe on his (Sheppard’s) but it wasn’t enough.”