Brian Maher hoping to go under the radar during Derry City's title charge

​BRIAN Maher can be forgiven for wanting to go under the radar for the rest of Derry City's title run-in.
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​The talented Dubliner has been through the ringer over recent weeks and won't be in a hurry to face or take another penalty kick.

Maher had his spotkick saved in a shootout against Tobol Kostanay in sudden death and was between the sticks three days later as Derry were knocked out of the FAI Cup after a dramatic penalty loss to St Pat's.

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Last Friday Bohs striker Jonathan Afolabi sent him the wrong way from 12 yards to secure a 2-2 draw at Dalymount and the former Ireland U21 international is hoping it's time his luck changes ahead of another crucial league fixture at Oriel Park.

Derry City goalkeeper Brian Maher saves brilliantly from Shane Farrell's penalty in a 0-0 draw against Shelbourne.Derry City goalkeeper Brian Maher saves brilliantly from Shane Farrell's penalty in a 0-0 draw against Shelbourne.
Derry City goalkeeper Brian Maher saves brilliantly from Shane Farrell's penalty in a 0-0 draw against Shelbourne.

Maher has been pivotal to Derry's title charge this season and while his penalty miss against Pat's thrust him into the spotlight, he's also emerged the hero on numerous occasions.

Let's not forget his spectacular match-saving penalty stop with his outstretched foot to deny Shelbourne's Shane Farrell at Brandywell in a stalemate last June or his stunning point-blank save to deny Drogheda's Freddy Draper in Co. Louth last May which drew comparisons to the legendary Peter Schmeichel. His goalmouth heroics helped keep Derry's European run alive against Tobol in Kazakhstan and he's kept an impressive 14 clean sheets domestically plus three on the continent this season.

City's No.1 is expecting a busy night against Dundalk's formidable attack on Friday night but he's hoping he's not the one to hit the headlines after another pivotal night in the League of Ireland title race.

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"Hopefully for the next nine games my name isn't mentioned," he smiled. "It's been a very up and down two weeks or so for me. I haven't really spoken about it (his penalty miss) since and it's hard to take but the support I've had from Derry fans has been unbelievable.

"I haven't seen anything negative about the penalty and stuff. It's one of those things. Everybody misses them and unfortunately I was one of them. It's tough to take but as I said, the support from our group and also from our fans has been brilliant and to be fair those are the only opinions that matter to me.

"I know a lot of people like to say stuff about it but the support from Derry has been all positive so that, for me, is the only thing that matters.

"Hopefully we can put another run (of clean sheets) together. We went a good while without conceding, even when we were losing the shootouts so a little run like that would really help us.

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"When you go down there you're always going to go under a few spells of pressure."

On their last visit to Oriel Park Derry left with a tinge of regret despite Cian Kavanagh’s late equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

Having controlled the game and hit the crossbar before conceding twice during a frantic 60 second spell during the final 20 minutes, Maher felt they deserved more on the night.

“I actually think we did really well down there this year bar a few minutes. We controlled large parts of it and we'll hope to do that again.

"But you look at the names on their team sheet, they've been around a long time and they're top players in this league so we'll have to be wary of that as well,” added the City keeper.

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