Sunday 22 July 2018

Rogers calls for overdue win over Cork

James Rogers

Gary Rogers has called on his Dundalk team-mates to 'turn the tide' by securing a long overdue victory over Cork City at Oriel Park on Friday night.

John Caulfield's side are undefeated in their last seven matches against the Lilywhites in all competitions - a run that features six wins and triumphs in two FAI Cup and two President's Cup finals.

Indeed, it is just one win in 11 for Dundalk against their biggest rivals with the Daryl Horgan-inspired 2-1 victory at Oriel Park in October 2016 the last time Stephen Kenny's side have come out on top against the Rebels. The head to head records between the sides have been pivotal over the years. 

Three wins in the league against Cork in 2014, including one on the final day, proved crucial in securing a first league title in 19 years while even last season for all the talk about Cork's stunning start the final points tally between first and second was seven points - the exact number they had taken from three meetings against Dundalk.

Rogers said the recent one-sided nature of the results wasn't something of great concern in the Oriel Park dressing room but said it was something that was important to address.

'They've kind of turned the tide in terms of the results in the last couple of the years but it's time we swung that back in our favour and there's no better place to do that than in Oriel Park on Friday.

'We need to back up the good performance against Limerick with another good result against Cork and that would really ignite our season for us.

'It's something that we want to address. Obviously the President's Cup games aren't that important but still we'd prefer to win the games. Going into the league game, if we can replicate what we did the other night and even do a bit better then we'll be in a good position to beat them.

'Obviously at home we want to be winning our games but Cork will come to try and win it as well so it should be a good game and hopefully we'll be on the right side of the result to turn that tide. 

'It would send a real message of intent for the rest of the season. We'll be fully focused on getting that result and all going well we'll play well and get the win,' he said. Having yet to concede in the opening three games, the experienced goalkeeper is now just one shy of 50 clean sheets in the league for Dundalk since joining from Sligo Rovers at the start of the 2015 campaign. That's a landmark he said he would love to hit on Friday. 'I'd be disappointed if I don't hit that target this year,' he laughed.

'Obviously we're trying to keep as many clean sheets as we can and we'll try and beat last year's total. Hopefully the next one will come in the next game.  'Defensively we've been quite solid but that comes from Pat Hoban and the lads up top working their socks off and making it difficult. That curtails the amount of chances the opposition have against you.

'It's something we want to keep doing week in, week out keeping clean sheets because generally if we do that we'll win the game because we're good enough to score.'

The Meath man admitted it was a blow to have last Friday's game against Derry City called off and said he can only remember one other time when a full round of League of Ireland fixtures didn't go ahead.

'The only thing I can remember that stopped a full round of fixtures was the foot and mouth back in 2000 or 2001. I was only starting with St Francis at the time but apart from that I don't remember it being as bad.

'Ideally it would have been great to get the game against Derry because it would have given the gaffer an opportunity to see more players. In that sense we probably could have done with a game but it wasn't to be. Hopefully though we'll have a good week and training should be very competitive this week because everyone will want to get into the team for the Cork game.'

Rogers said the 8-0 win over Limerick had given the side a major confidence boost ahead of a busy period which will see them play four matches in the space of 10 days.

'It was great for lot of different reasons. Lots of players got their first goals of the season and we looked like we were really at it. There was a good intensity about our play and that's the way it will have to be for the remainder of the season.

'Over 36 games you're going to have to bring that every week. That's what it takes to win games and win leagues,' he said.

The Argus