Wednesday 25 April 2018

Doherty due call-up -- Kenny

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

NIGEL Worthington could do with getting himself to Tallaght Stadium this evening as two of the Airtricity League's top goalkeepers could solve a problem for him.

Alan Blayney had a nightmare for Northern Ireland when they were hammered by Ireland in the Carling Nations Cup and Stephen Kenny believes his goalkeeper Ger Doherty could do better.

At the other end, Shamrock Rovers stopper Alan Mannus has been capped by Worthington, but has been overlooked for a year after snubbing their tour to America to play for the Hoops.

He has conceded just seven goals in the league for the leaders this season, while Doherty was inspirational for Derry on Friday as they clung on to a 1-1 draw at St Patrick's Athletic.

It was all the more impressive as the former Ireland U-21 international had flown back from his wedding on the day, but it didn't affect him as he pulled off a series of saves to deny the Saints.

"We have one goalkeeper capped this week who was with us before at Derry, David Forde, and rightly so" Kenny said.

"We used to say to David that he was capable of playing for Ireland. I think Gerard is capable of playing for Northern Ireland. Jonathan Tuffey and Alan Blayney, I would put Gerard ahead of those two.

"He is exceptionally strong mentally, a great competitor. We're lucky to have him. He didn't seem to lose sharpness in the First Division.

"I was disappointed that he didn't get called in (to the international squad) previously, although I know Alan Mannus has strong claims, too, to be fair. But I felt he could have got called up."

Friday's draw leaves the Foylesiders five points adrift of the Hoops in fourth. Their return to the Premier Division continues to be a success and Kenny wants to see how far his young squad can take it.

"Rovers are extremely strong squad-wise. They are league champions and most people would expect them to win convincingly," he said. "I think we're capable of causing them some problems. They don't concede a lot. But we are capable of dominating and controlling games.

"We are doing okay. We want to continue and see if we can compete for a European place. It's not that often that a team comes up from the First Division and says that, but there are about seven teams in it. The margin will be narrow at the end of the season."

Irish Independent

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