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29th Aug 2023

“You’d cover more ground in football” – Rogers on the difference between hurling and football

Niall McIntyre

Brendan Rogers loves to mix them.

As a Derry footballer and a Slaughtneil dual player, the split season means that he will have precious little time away from GAA this year.

But this dual dynamo isn’t in the slightest bit worried about that.

Outside the four white lines, his only real plan is to get married in late December – a GAA wedding if ever you’ve seen one – but the honeymoon could be a no-go depending on how Slaughtneil are faring in the club championships.

A postponement could be off the cards in that case too because then, as you go into January/February, that’s when the National Football League starts up again. Who’d be a GAA player? Who’d marry one?

Brendan Rogers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some players need to hop off the treadmill at some stage to re-charge and re-boot but according to Rogers, a little bit of variety is all he needs to stay fresh.

Swapping sliotars for footballs and vice-versa does the trick for him.

“I don’t really feel the need to get away, it’s just a love of playing for the club,” says the PwC footballer of the month for July.

“Change of focus and skillset and so on, they keep you fresh without having to take months and times away out of the country.”

As a players who excells at both codes, the fanatical Rogers is the perfect man to explain the difference between hurling and football. And he says that while much of the training is the same, the games themselves have their intricacies that require different attributes.

“I get the premise that in football you need more of your 15 being that classic ultimate athlete type of thing, when you’re constantly up and down the pitch.

“Distance is always high, but the tempo is a lot more controlled in Gaelic,” says Rogers.

The 29-year-old, who often plays as a wing forward for the Slaughtneil hurlers, says that while he would generally cover less ground in a hurling game, due to rucks and snappy breaks of the ball, it would be more intense.

“What I would find in hurling that it’s more bouts of intensity, and a lot more all or nothing because of the speed the ball moves.”

“So you’re reacting a lot sharper in hurling. At club level, distances covered are relatively similar, but the physicality of being in rucks is a lot higher.

“Across the board, you’d cover more ground in football, it’s just the rucks and stuff that are more physical in hurling and that’s how it differs.”

“They’re so similar and so different in many ways.

“You’d do the same conditioning for both but how they apply is ever so slightly different. The reactiveness is the bigger change.”

So there you have it, footballers cover more ground but hurlers move harder and faster in short bursts. Who has the bragging rights there?

Meanwhile, Rogers says he’s excited about playing Division One Football for Derry next year, and claims it will have a big impact on the younger players in the squad.

“Everyone gets comfortable with being at that elite level. It paves a really good pathway for the young folk, 100 per cent.

“They know the lure of playing Division One football, the lure of playing against the best in Ireland every week. So it is very much a very positive factor with being in Division One. I think just for competition for big honours, it is a very big factor.”

“Once you’ve reflected on it and see it like that, it gives you such a boost in the short term in that if we develop now, imagine what the addition of those players will be if they come into the right environment and set-up with the experience we have. It is exciting in my eyes, anyway.”

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