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Dean Zambra: 'The FAI Cup is hugely important for Longford - hopefully everyone gets behind us for the game against Athlone'

Tue, Jul 09 2019

Andrew Dempsey reports from the Aviva Stadium

Having watched Longford Town win the FAI Cup as an outsider in 2003 and 2004, captain Dean Zambra will be hoping the current crop of Longford stars can add to the club’s glowing pedigree in the competition.  

Neale Fenn’s side were handed a home draw against their Midlands counterparts Athlone Town, which will be the first time the club’s will have met in the blue-ribbon cup competition since 2014.

“I think it’s a good draw for us,” the Longford skipper told extratime.ie.  

“It’s against a club in our own division so all you can really ask for is a home tie. We’re expecting it to be a tough game, it’s a derby which will add a layer of ferocity to it.

“There’s a number of ex-players from Longford at Athlone so it won’t be an easy game but we’re happy enough with the home draw.

“We’ll be looking to go as far as we can, but we’ll be focusing on the first one and that’s all we can do.

“We’ve done reasonably well over the last couple of years getting through the last couple of rounds and we’ve ran into Cork both times so sometimes you need a bit of luck depending on the draw.

“The home draw is a positive for us and if we get past that we’ll see what the draw brings to us.”

For a town like Longford, Zambra added that the importance placed on the cup is huge for a town who have had such famous night’s playing in the tournament.

“As Stephen Kenny mentioned it really brings the town together. The fans come out, the bunting goes out on the street and it really creates great memories.

“Sometimes you might be lucky enough to win a league title but winning the cup, you remember the day and everything about it.

“It’s hugely important for Longford as a town and we’ll be hoping everyone gets behind us for the game against Athlone.”

However, the FAI Cup is weeks away so Zambra admits that all the focus is on the home clash against Drogheda United on Saturday evening, with the need to park talk of a FAI Cup run to bed quick; “It’s a massive game for us on Saturday now.

“Drogheda won and we lost to Limerick which means they’ve gone ahead of us and we really need to bounce back. We’ve beaten them twice this year and both games have gone very close and could have gone either way. We’re expecting a tough game and we’re looking for a huge response for ourselves.

“There’s obviously been an injection of ability and quality to the ranks and both Dylan (Grimes) and Jack (Doherty) bring that. Both obviously played a part in Limerick and going forward we’ll see more from them soon.”