Portlaoise penalty hero Craig Rogers has maintained that finishing games on the day with novel shoot-outs to avoid replays is a sensible move.
The former Laois forward scored the decisive penalty in a dramatic 5-4 win over Wicklow’s St Pat’s in Sunday’s AIB Leinster club quarter-final tie.
Rogers initially presumed it would go to a traditional replay after the sides finished level in Aughrim after 80 minutes of action.
But the Leinster Council followed through with their new ‘winner on the day’ protocols and convened a penalties contest that Portlaoise edged.
St Pat’s failed to convert their first kick and with all nine subsequent penalties converted, Portlaoise were propelled through to a semi-final on Sunday week against Éire Óg of Carlow.
Both managers complained afterwards about the kicks with Pat’s chief Casey O’Brien insisting there should have been a replay and Portlaoise manager Niall Rigney surprisingly agreeing.
“Now that we’ve won I’d obviously say it’s a great way to decide it but honestly I think players generally would be happy to finish it on the day,” said Rogers.
“It’s an anti-climax to just go away and come back the next day. It can be tricky to have another game, especially in the Leinster championship when you’re playing every two weeks.
“To have another game in between that, you’d be under pressure. We’ve a couple of injuries as well so we’re glad that we got out of Aughrim on the day with the win.”
Rogers’ heroics came two years after he failed to convert a late penalty against Kilmacud Crokes in the 2017 club semi-finals which would have levelled it.
He didn’t hesitate to put himself forward again on Sunday, firstly for penalties and then as the fifth taker with the result likely to come down to his kick.
“I’d never experienced anything like that before,” said Rogers. “The lads were even surprised at the end of normal time that it was going to penalties. They thought it might be a replay or maybe another period of extra-time.
“But we’re an experienced enough group, we’ve been down the road in Leinster a number of times so we were excited by the opportunity to take penalties. It was something novel and new and all five of us put them away.”
The 35-time Laois champions are now just two more wins from a record eighth provincial title which would nudge them back out in front in Leinster.
They’re currently tied with Dublin’s St Vincent’s at the head of the Leinster roll of honour ahead of Sunday week’s semi-final against Éire Óg of Carlow.
“It’s one game at a time, all the time, but obviously the ambition for this club is Leinsters,” said Rogers.
“The tradition is there, we’re joint top in Leinster with Vincent’s on seven titles and the tradition in this club is Leinsters, going back to players like Colm Browne and Tom Prendergast who have gone before us.
“They were on Leinster winning teams, All-Ireland winning teams, so that’s the ambition. It’s not how many county medals you’ve won, it’s how many Leinsters you can back them up with. That’s what we’re all training for.”