Longford hoping to go to Town on non-league Sheriff
Longford Town's players have been told that this season could be a once in a lifetime chance to go all the way in the FAI Cup and secure a place in Europe next season.
With six Premier Division teams already knocked out of the competition (including Dublin's big three of Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic and Bohemians), and either Cork City or Derry City and Dundalk or Sligo Rovers also on the way out, the competition has never been more open, or more winnable, for a club like Longford or Bray Wanderers.
"I told the players at training the other night that this is a great chance for them in their careers, to potentially get to the Cup final, play in the Aviva and qualify for Europe, I don't know if there's been an FAI Cup recently with so many of the big clubs knocked out before the semi finals," says Longford boss Tony Cousins ahead of his side's quarter-final tie at home to non-league side Sheriff YC tonight.
"But I also told the players that the Sheriff manager and squad will be thinking the same way, this is a brilliant chance for them to get to an FAI Cup semi-final, and I have no doubt that they will be fancying their chances away to us, so I can't look any further than the quarter final. If we get to the semis then we can talk about a draw and what it would mean and the possibility of Europe but for now I want everyone switched on to the task, that means Sheriff YC tonight."
As Longford boss, Cousins has already suffered a Cup defeat by a non-league side (Cherry Orchard in 2012) and while he feels his current panel are in better shape, he's still wary. "I went to see Sheriff myself twice, I know they're a good side, strong from set pieces, they have beaten league teams already so they won't be overawed by us," added Cousins.