Interview by James Donnelly
Longford Town's Aodh Dervin hoping to emulate Cup heroes of 2004...
Longford Town's homegrown midfield maestro, Aodh Dervin was just 4 years old when his club retained the FAI Cup way back in 2004 with a dramatic 2-1 win over Waterford United at the old, iconic Landsdowne Road.
A Town fan from birth, the 20 year old spoke fondly of his vivid memories of the time, recalling seeing the Longford players arrive at the stadium all suited up and ready for action.
“I was only four years old but I remember all the players, Sean Prunty, Eric Lavine...I remember them all coming out in suits and it was really professional and it was a moment that's stuck with me since then and it drives me on in a way...”
Now, 15 years later, one of the brightest prospects' that the midlands club has produced in recent years, is hoping to emulate his old heroes by going all the way and winning the coveted cup in the Aviva Stadium and fulfilling a boyhood dream.
“I think anyone that has any ambition of being a footballer (in Ireland) dreams of that so it's obviously always been a goal of mine and it would be even more special to do it with Longford especially with our history.”
Longford have a rich history in this competition, having won it twice in the early 2000's and been finalists four times. Having had a decent run last year under the guidance of manager Neale Fenn, Longford had some terrific wins in the cup, beating Sligo Rovers in the first round for the second consecutive year and defeating Shelbourne at home in the second round before bowing out to a superior Cork City side in the quarter final although an early sending off didn't help the Red and Black. A crowd of over 1100 were in attendance and while the final result was one to forget for Dervin, his performance for the Town showed everyone that he's capable of playing at the top level in our league. However, with the Town chasing promotion and welcomign Shelbourne to the City Calling only 4 days after their cup game on Tuesday, potential opponents and revenge isn't on the mind of the young player.
“We all know that promotion is our main aim but I think these cup games are good, we want to keep the momentum going and the only way we can do that is by playing and winning...obviously you'd want to get revenge on Cork and you always want to play against the best players but I haven't really thought about it. We've Athlone on Tuesday and that's our main focus.”
With tomorrow's game being the fourth 'El Clasico' of 2019 and with Longford having won the last three and obtaining a 5-1 win only last week, Dervin is aware that the midlands derby is not quite what it used to be but insists that he and the team will still prepare the same way as usual.
“Obviously the rivalry isn't what it was a few years ago when Athlone were doing well, I remember going to games as a fan and busses of Athlone fans would be travelling but it doesn't matter, we treat Athlone the same as any other team. I motivate myself by not wanting to lose any game as I hate losing and I'm a sore one at that but beating Athlone will always feel that bit sweeter for me and always will.”
With league leaders Shelbourne losing out to Cobh last week, their lead at the top is down to 5 points. They will travel to Longford on Saturday night in what could be both clubs biggest game of the season, just a few days Longford are in cup action. When asked if he still believed 'De Town' could win the league, Dervin revealed the team are just taking it one game at the time.
“This is the biggest game of the season for us, and with Shels slipping up in Cobh, we're looking to close the gap even more by beating them. Then there will only be 2 points between us so we just need to take it game by game and see how it folds out..”
Kick off at the City Calling Stadium tonight is 7.45pm.