IT'S BEEN a while since fans of Longford Town had something to smile about.
Relegated in 2007, the Town -- who enjoyed FAI Cup wins and European nights in the last decade -- suffered the shame of a bottom-four finish in Division One for the last two seasons.
But manager Tony Cousins has told the current crop of Longford players that they can make themselves heroes, just for one day, to quote David Bowie, if they can pull off a shock and knock league leaders Shamrock Rovers out of the FAI Cup tonight.
Taking on Rovers is about the toughest task that Cousins' young Longford side could face as before last week's 2-1 loss to Sligo Rovers in the League Cup semi-final the Hoops were unbeaten in domestic action since last May -- a run of 18 league and cup games without defeat for Michael O'Neill's side.
Add in Longford's indifferent league form -- just four wins in the last 12 -- and it's no surprise that Longford are rated at 9/1 to win the game.
But Cousins has told his players what rewards would await them if they do manage to overcome the Hoops.
"We spoke about this in training only the other night. Right now nobody cares about the First Division in terms of coverage or publicity. Apart from local papers there's no interest in us as a team," says Cousins.
"But if my lads could win this game tonight they could get themselves on the back pages of all the papers tomorrow. They have a chance to make themselves heroes and make a name for themselves, so that's what we're aiming for.
"I think there will be at least one shock in the Cup tonight, one of the big guns is bound to lose, and we have to hope that it's us who cause an upset against Rovers," added Cousins, a man who knows about disappointments in the FAI Cup -- "five semi-finals as a player and five defeats" says the former Dundalk, Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers player.