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Doherty itching for Lansdowne reprieve

GER DOHERTY'S last visit to the Lansdowne Road stadium was not, it's fair to say, one of the highlights of his career, goals going past the Derry City 'keeper so quickly that he was unable to count.

Doherty was the man picked to play in goal for the Airtricity League XI when they played Manchester City and Celtic in the Dublin Super Cup last year, starting both games as the LOI side lost 3-0 and 5-0.

But the 31-year-old is hoping for a better outcome when he lines out for Derry in Sunday's FAI Ford Cup final against St Patrick's Athletic.

"I'm one of the few who has played in the Aviva Stadium before. This time it's a bit different, the last time we were there we didn't expect to get a result as we were playing against one of the best teams in the world, so we have more expectation and I hope I enjoy this one more," Doherty said.

"I played in both games last year for the League of Ireland team against Man City and Celtic, and it's hard to remember how many they scored. In one game I think I lost count after four goals.

"A place like the Aviva Stadium is a big stage but I think these boys can deal with it.

"Sometimes people relish the fact it's such a big deal, in a massive stadium and live on TV.

"We have a lot of young boys in the squad but I think they'll enjoy that, and we'll get in the day before the match to see the stadium and the dressing rooms."

Aged 31, Doherty is one of the most experienced players in the City squad. He was 17 when he made his debut for Derry and promptly earned a cross-channel move, joining Derby County before a spell with Welsh side TNS.

The former Republic of Ireland U18 cap returned to Ireland in 2008 and has established himself as not only Derry's No 1 but also one of the top keepers in the country.

It's a relief to Derry fans that Doherty's future is tied to the club with a three-year contract signed earlier this season.