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Ali Coote dreams of more good Aviva memories, just like his former teammate Chiedozie Ogbene

Ali Coote is relishing his latest chance to shine on the big stage.

Bohemians’ midfielder Ali Coote is no stranger to the Aviva Stadium, nor are any of his teammates – but he is hoping for some more good memories at the Dublin 4 venue on Sunday evening.

After impressing for Waterford last season, the former Dundee United star made the move to Dalymount Park after a prior stint with Brentford B.

And while he was at Brentford’s second-string side, he played with a future Irish international in Chiedozie Ogbene while at the club, despite never getting the chance he hoped to have got when he signed for the Bees.

Ali Coote on Chiedozie Ogbene.

“At Brentford, things didn’t work out the way I would have hoped,” he tells Pundit Arena ahead of Sunday’s FAI Cup final. “But in terms of my development as a player and a person, it was a massive part of my journey.

“Playing against the first-teams with Brentford B, I played against some pretty big-names back then which helped me massively.”

But it was at Dundee United where Coote made his early name, making his debut at 16, before then signing for Brentford at 18 as he chased the Premier League dream.

In hindsight, however, he admits that was the wrong move.

“I was at Dundee United from a young age and I got all the through until I was 18,” explains. “I made my debut at 16, and I was still quite young and probably not ready for it, but I thought I was.

“I tried to push things too hard and maybe I should have just bided my time a little bit. But when you’re young you just want to play. I loved my time there and it’s a great club and it’s part of my journey.”

Ali Coote

But it was at Brentford where he was a teammate of Ogbene – and having seen him at close quarters, he is not one bit surprised that the former Cork City winger is excelling on the international stage.

“Chieo was always a happy character,” he notes. “He was always smiling and he was always dancing. He had a difficult time at Brentford but he stuck at it and he was always professional and I’m delighted to see him do so well now.

“I watched him in the internationals and he was flying. I remember him being some athlete and he’s really showing what quality he has.

“I’m not surprised at how well he has done, not at all. He’s freakishly athletic. He’s probably one of the best I’ve ever seen like that.

“I always thought that if this guy was given a chance he could really affect games and he’s showing that now.

Ali Coote.

While Ogbene and Coote are no longer teammates, they both have made their mark at the Aviva Stadium, Coote with Bohs, and Ogbene with Ireland.

And Coote is hoping to make even more memories at the Dublin 4 venue on Sunday.

“We have fond memories of the Aviva,” he notes. “We had three good performances there during the summer, and it was a shame that we couldn’t get the job done in Greece against PAOK.

“I think we just gave them a glimmer of hope with that one-goal they got at the Aviva. But we’re looking forward to getting back to the Aviva, it’s a great place to play football and it’s going to be special.

“You play football to play games like these,  and you dream of growing up and playing in front of crowds like these as a kid.”

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