A year can be a long time in a young man’s life. 365 days. 2013 will be a year that those involved with the Geraldines will never forget.
When Eamon McEneaney dragged his charges back for the start of preseason training in December 2012, few would have thought that exactly a year later that same group of lads would be contesting a Leinster final having completed the county double.
It is simply the stuff of legends. One man who became the hero on Sunday against St Fintan’s was stand-in captain Michael Rogers. His cool and calm conversion of a thirteen metre free in the final minute of extra time pushed the Haggardstown/Blackrock club into a Leinster final - The dream goes on.
“It’s great to play with your teammates in a Leinster final, beamed the Gers midfielder afterwards. “Roll on two weeks and the final.
“I think it’ll be a year by the time the final comes around,” he revealed, “it’s been nonstop. We’ll be delighted to get the Leinster final over with and see how it goes on from there”, he added.
The cherry on top following Sunday’s performance was the fact that they got home advantage for the final, unfortunately it may not be played in Haggardstown, but it was still a powerful incentive according to Rogers.
“That was a big incentive coming down here, knowing we could have home advantage. We’ll take on the Dublin team and there’ll be a great atmosphere hopefully at home.”
They just couldn’t shake off St Fintan’s on Sunday. The Wexford champs were tenacious and wouldn’t lie down. It took heart and real steel to get over the line according to the Gers captain.
“We came in with less then ten minutes left (at half time of extra time) and we were four points up and I was kind of fancying us to go on from there and then we let in an awful soft goal. But we bounced back really well and it showed the heart we’ve had all year. I’m just delighted to get over the line in the end.”
As he discusses the moments that led up to his match winning free, Rogers revealed that he had to show strength of character to hit the deadball - it was clearly the most important score of the game.
“I knew there wasn’t long left, we’ll put it that way. It was on my side and Shane (O’Hanlon) wanted it, but I said I’d take it and thank god it went over.”
While he may have taken that free from O’Hanlon, Rogers had nothing but praise for his teammate’s wonderful display and his willingness to put it all on the line for his club.
“He played really well in the first half and when the ball is coming in to him fast he can destroy his man at times. It was great to have him there. But we knew we had to have a big lead. There was a strong enough wind today, it wasn’t match deciding, but it was strong.”
Roll on St Olafs on Sunday December 1 - a day of history beckons.