Gerard Doherty: Derry City goalkeeper moves to Crusaders on 18-month deal

Gerard Doherty after signing for Crusaders on Thursday evening
Gerard Doherty joins a Crues squad that already includes other keepers Harry Doherty and Sean O'Neill

Derry City keeper Gerard Doherty has moved to Irish Premiership champions Crusaders on an 18-month deal.

Doherty, 37, leaves the Candystripes after a 10-year stint in what was his second spell at the Brandywell club.

He played over 400 games for Derry and was handed the club captaincy in March 2017 after Ryan McBride's sudden death.

"His vast experience playing in the League of Ireland will be extremely beneficial to the squad," said Crues boss Stephen Baxter of Doherty.

"He is brilliant both in the air and as a stopper and the way he commands the box and keeps his defenders alert is superb."

The Crusaders manager added that Doherty would be "a great asset to the group of keepers we already have".

Harry Doherty has been been preferred to Sean O'Neill between the posts by Baxter in recent weeks.

Doherty helped Derry win EA Sports Cup

Doherty celebrated his testimonial season with Derry this year and helped them win a first trophy in six years as they lifted the EA Sports Cup in September.

However, he didn't play in Kenny Shiels' final two games in charge as Derry's league campaign ended on a dismal note.

Shiels parted company with Derry immediately after the conclusion of the League of Ireland season and a player exodus from the Brandywell has seen the departures of Aaron McEneff, the Hale brothers Ronan and Rory, Nicky Low, Gavin Peers, Eric Grimes, Dan Seaborne and Ben Fisk.

After beginning his career with Derry City in 1998, Doherty moved to Derby County a year later and had further spells with Welsh clubs The New Saints and Barry Town before returning to the Candystripes in 2008.

He was called up to the Northern Ireland squad in 2011 although he didn't earn a cap.

Doherty will join his former Derry team-mates Rory Hale, Rory Patterson and Mark McChrystal at the Seaview outfit.