14 July 2023

Louise Quinn to fulfil ‘life-long ambition’ for Republic of Ireland at World Cup

14 July 2023

Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn has described what lies ahead as the fulfilment of a “life-long ambition” as the team prepare to make their major tournament debut at this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

History was secured for the Girls in Green last October when Vera Pauw’s side beat Scotland 1-0 in the qualifying play-offs, and their World Cup finals bow comes with a clash against Australia in Sydney next Thursday.

Quinn has made 105 appearances for the team, the 100th having come a month after the Scotland match in the next game – and the first back in 2008.

The 33-year-old Birmingham centre-half told the PA news agency: “Individually we know this has been that kind of life-long ambition.

“You watched the men in the World Cup and just being a fan and seeing how happy it made the country at the time…I was literally kind of growing up with it.

“I suppose you don’t think it’s a possibility, but at the same time you also see these guys running around playing for their country and the joy I remember it was bringing my family at the time, the town – you’re kind of like, ‘that’s cool and I play football, so why not, who knows’?

“I probably didn’t even know really what a World Cup was at that stage, but you’re like ‘that’s cool and I want to do that’, and then it just starts to gradually build.”

With the dream finally becoming reality – and Quinn and her team-mates in the women’s side now set to be watched on by youngsters back at home as they perform on the biggest stage – she added: “We looked up to the men’s team and really wanted it.

“It just lets people dream, lets people see it’s possible.

“That sort of pressure of young kids (watching), that’s an absolute privilege to have that pressure, to inspire, to grow the game, to get people wanting to play football, be involved in it, because it is the love of my life – my partner won’t be happy with me saying that!”

As well as playing the co-hosts, who are ranked 10th in the word, in a sold-out contest at the 80,000-plus capacity Stadium Australia, 22nd-ranked Ireland will also face Canada – the seventh-ranked Olympic champions – and Nigeria in Group B.

Quinn said: “We have a squad filled with massive experience, of winning leagues, FA Cups, playing in Champions League semi-finals. All of these things we have to take on board and help each other out along the way.

“I think for us, we obviously have that goal of getting through the group, but first and foremost we just have to not let the occasion get to us and take it in for what it is.

“Sport is sport. Sometimes another team is better then you have to kind of accept that, but I feel if we don’t just take it on for what it is or let the occasion get to us, there might be some disappointment in that.

“I think if we can just relish it, take on those good nerves that get the adrenaline going and as we’ve done for a lot of the campaign, keeping clean sheets, not letting teams through and then we have the ability to score all over the pitch as well…we know when we’re 100 per cent, we’re a very, very tough team to beat.”

We have that goal of getting through the group, but first and foremost we just have to not let the occasion get to us and take it in for what it is

When asked about the considerable Irish expat community in Australia and support the team will get at the World Cup, Quinn said with a smile that Irish fans would “definitely give it a good go” at trying to drown out their counterparts in the first match, and added: “There’s definitely going to be a wave of green in patches all over the stadium.

“My sister lives in Australia as well…and she’ll be getting everyone on board as much as she can. I have so many friends from uni and from everywhere that are over there.

“We’re very well known for being some of the best fans in the world and I know it’s going to be the exact same on the other side of the world in Australia.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox