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Rogers is happy with his dual role

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Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Gary Rogers. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

IT WAS A BUSY weekend for double-jobbing goalkeeper Gary Rogers, but the Meath-born player is relishing more weekends like that as he pursues glory in two codes.

On Saturday night, Rogers was taking on his usual task of lining out for Sligo Rovers, the league champions earning a much-needed win at home to UCD.

The following day he was across the border in Enniskillen, in his role as goalkeeping coach to Cavan's senior footballers, who had an impressive win over Fermanagh.

There are big tests ahead – next Monday, Sligo will learn the identity of their opponents in the Champions League qualifying rounds – and his soccer duties will take precedence, but for now Rogers is enjoying his dual role.

"Sligo Rovers come first in terms of my time and dedication, but coaching the keepers with Cavan is a nice thing to have and I see no reason why I can't do the two," Rogers told The Herald.

"A few results went my way over the weekend; Cavan won against Fermanagh, Sligo Rovers won their game and St Pat's dropped points against Dundalk. I know things won't always go the way you wanted and Cavan will have bigger tests ahead, but for now, it's enjoyable.

"The main aim for me is still to retain the league title with Sligo Rovers, but we'll see how far we can go with this Cavan team. If we get to an Ulster final, you never know what could happen after that."

Coaching

Rogers had his first taste of Gaelic football coaching when he worked with the keepers at Meath's senior team a couple of seasons ago and this season the offer came to hook up with Cavan.

"The timing is easy enough to work out, we're full-time at Sligo Rovers, so I can train in the morning and have evenings free to work with Cavan if I am needed. I usually do one evening a week in Breffni Park with the Cavan keepers and so far, so good.

"I have been with them for the two Championship games so far and we have won, though I don't know if I can claim the credit for being a lucky omen, there are a lot of people in the Cavan set-up doing a lot of hard work," he explained.

"The keepers are enjoying the training, the two young lads there – Alan O'Mara and Conor Gilsenan – as well as James Reilly have done well."

Rogers has amassed some serious League of Ireland experience in his time with clubs like Drogheda United, St Pat's and Sligo and he feels that, while soccer goalkeepers have been coached well in recent years, Gaelic football is only catching up.

"GAA keepers have often been neglected in terms of coaching and technique, so the basics in the two codes may be the same," said Rogers. "I tailor my sessions to deal with high balls. A GAA keeper may not have too many actual saves to make in a game, but he might be needed to come and catch three or four high balls and there's more emphasis on kick-outs, so you work on that. "A lot of the principles are the same, but there's still no point in me doing a soccer-coaching session with a GAA keeper."

While Cavan fans are enjoying some rare success in the Championship this season, times have been a bit harder for Sligo Rovers supporters, as Saturday's win at home to UCD was their first victory in five league games

"It was good to get the win before the mid-season break, we can come back now after the break with confidence high," said Rogers. "People said we had a bad run of form, but we had a lot of draws and didn't lose too many games. If we win our game in hand we're only a point behind St Pat's. Hopefully we will have players back from injury by the time we play Shels in a couple of weeks and our season can kick on from there."


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