Sunday 25 February 2018

Rogers is thrilled to be on plane to Serbia

Goalkeeper Gary Rogers. Photo: Sportsfile
Goalkeeper Gary Rogers. Photo: Sportsfile

Gary Rogers is facing a whirlwind long weekend after being promoted to the Republic of Ireland squad for Monday's World Cup qualifier in Serbia.

The 34-year-old Dundalk goalkeeper has trained with Martin O'Neill's squad on several occasions and made the bench for May's friendly against Holland.

But Shay Given's retirement and David Forde's decision to turn down a call-up have created a vacancy which he is delighted to fill, even if he means he will endure a gruelling few days.

"I am hooking up with Dundalk tonight," Rogers said before last night's game against Bohs.

"Then after the game, I'll be coming back into the hotel to fly to Serbia and then back for Tuesday.

"We have a game against Sligo on Tuesday night when I get back, so it's busy, but I'm looking forward to it."

Rogers has already enjoyed an eventful few weeks with reigning Airtricity League champions Dundalk, who just failed to become the first Irish side to reach the group stage of the Champions League following a 3-1 aggregate defeat by Legia Warsaw in the final qualification round.

"When you put it all together, it's been a remarkable year for me personally and for the club," he added.


"But there's no greater honour than to be joining up with your country and representing your country at this level. It's fantastic."

Meanwhile, Daryl Murphy will head into the game dreaming of both Russia and the Premier League.

The 33-year-old striker finished the Euro 2016 finals as O'Neill's first-choice frontman, starting the victory over Italy which secured the nation's passage from the group stage and the last-16 clash with hosts France.

He was belatedly re-united with his international team-mates this week after securing a move from Ipswich to Newcastle and is now hoping to continue on the upward curve his career has taken in recent seasons.

"It obviously gives you confidence when you play at that level against players of that calibre in the finals," he said.

"I thought I did OK and held my own in both games I played, so it gives you a boost. They are very hard games to play in, but it was good.

"I'll have some great memories for years to come of playing in some very big games for Ireland.

"The Italy game, to know I was starting and to play and be involved in that win was brilliant, and then to keep my place a few days after and play against France - bar the result, it was just brilliant for me."

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