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THE magic of footballing glory gripped Arsenal fans in the capital yesterday as they queued to have their photo taken with the FA Cup.

Though many were licking their wounds after the Gunners lost to Swansea at the weekend, they had their spirits lifted as they got their hands on the famous trophy.

Defending champions Arsenal had the trophy flown over to raise funds for Temple Street Hospital, and many of the children there got to hold the cup on Sunday.

However, diehards flocked to Mary Street in Dublin yesterday to pose up with the trophy in Lifestyle Sports.

Sophie Kennedy (22), from Tallaght, took a few minutes away from working in the store to mimic her Arsenal heroes.

"It is slightly heavy but I have big muscles so it is OK," she joked after raising the historic trophy.

"I was really excited because I was off at the weekend and didn't know that it was coming in, but it has really made my day in work go quicker. It was a great surprise," she added.

Paul Brown, a lifelong Gunner from Clonsilla, said that it was a great opportunity for supporters.

"Arsenal hasn't won a cup for ages so that is why they are all going crazy over it now," he said.

"Everybody just wants to hold it and it is so old and filled with tradition that it is great for people to get this opportunity," he added.


Martin Quinn (24), from Firhouse, Dublin, said that he was intrigued by the fact that the cup represented the oldest known football competition in the world.

"It is historic and nostalgic for people," he said.

"Every top club wants to win it but the romance of the non-league clubs playing in it is probably why it is so important to people," he added.

"It is great that we won it last season and, hopefully,‑ we will be back in Wembley again next May."