A re-energised Longford Town return to cup action this evening as they plan to cause a major upset as they take on Cork City at the City Calling Stadium (kick-off 7pm).
The gulf between the First Division side and premier has not been one to phase De Town in this year’s competition as they have already knocked out Sligo Rovers 4-2 in the first round before picking off non-league side Bangor Celtic 1-0.
Longford come into the fixture on the back of a 2-0 victory over Cabinteely which has seen them climb to fourth in the First Division.
The game will also feature a reunion of Longford Town boss Neale Fenn with Cork City.
Fenn is a club legend on Leeside, having made 80 league appearances for the Leesiders between 2004 and 2006, scoring 27 league goals and winning a Premier Division title and FAI Cup runners-up medal in 2005.
Longford will be missing Kevin O'Connor, Paul Skinner, and Alan Kehoe who are all out injured.
Cork City come into tonight’s quarter final match up already slipping past Bray Wanderers 1-0 in the first round, and a 7-0 trouncing of Athlone at Turners Cross.
The Rebel Army will be hoping to make it three seasons back-to-back in the semi-finals. The past two years the faced Bray Wanderers and St. Patrick’s Athletic, reaching the final on both occasions.
Speaking ahead of the game; Cork City boss John Caulfield heaped praise on his Longford counterpart
"Since Neale Fenn has gone in, he has revitalised Longford and put his own stamp on the team. They are playing smashing football over the last couple of months and they have got some great results."
However despite old acquaintance, Caulfield was cagey in his approach.
"Longford are the underdogs and they will throw everything at us; they have a lot of talented players, a lot of pace, so we are well aware of their qualities, but it is about us going to Longford and playing our own game.
“If we can perform at the highest level, like we have done all season, then I am sure we will be fine, if we don’t it will be a difficult game.”
Johnny Dunleavy and Alec Byrne are long-term absentees, while Sean O’Mahony has also been ruled out of this weekend’s tie.
Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley are both carrying knocks and will be assessed prior to this evening’s game.
The pair have a history in the FAI Cup, having previously met in the 2006 and 2007 campaigns as well as in the third round last year.
2006 was a special encounter for Longford Town as Danny O’Connor’s goal knocked City out of the Cup, but since then it has been the Rebel Army who have emerged on top.
Memories of Denis Behan's diving header in the 2007 final against Longford Town avenged O’Connor’s strike, while a 4-1 cruise control won for City in 2016.
Longford Town 12/1; Draw 5/1; Cork City 2/9.
Longford Town 0-2 Cork City
Injured: Kevin O'Connor, Paul Skinner, and Alan Kehoe.
Injured: Johnny Dunleavy, Alec Byrne and Sean O’Mahony.
Doubtful: Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley.