Louise Quinn believes her experience at international level with the Republic of Ireland can benefit Birmingham’s relegation struggle as they bid to pull-off a miraculous survival bid in the Women’s Super League.
The defender is one of six players – alongside Marie Hourihan, Harriet Scott, Jamie Finn, Lucy Quinn and Emily Whelan – in the current Blues squad to have represented the Girls in Green.
Quinn has earnt 94 caps with the most recent one coming earlier this month in a well-deserved 1-1 draw with Sweden, the second-best women’s national side in the world, meaning Ireland are still in contention of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.
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Meanwhile, at club level, Quinn’s two goals from centre-back in a 3-1 victory over Brighton last weekend has kept their survival hopes alive. Birmingham are four points adrift of safety but head into Sunday’s clash with Chelsea off the back of taking four points from their last two games and have one in hand on Leicester above them. To stay up, Quinn reckons they can call upon past hard-fought experiences with Ireland.
Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Brighton and Birmingham.
“It’s absolutely doable and that brings a lot of drive for the coming week,” Quinn told Sky Sports on their survival hopes with Manchester City and Aston Villa to play.
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“We know that Chelsea is a very difficult game but at the same time they’re going to be coming off a three-game week and we really have something to fight for.
“It has been backs against the wall against them but we know we’ll have to do that. Fighting relegation is definitely something different, a different challenge. I’ve been through some of it, even from a national team point of view where we’ve had to really battle and lift performances. It’s never always been plain sailing.
“It’s so possible and, again, I’ve learnt a lot from the national team. We drew with Sweden, the second team in the world, a couple of weeks ago and we went 1-0 up. That’s something that gives me massive belief that this team can do the same against some of the top sides.
“Hopefully we haven’t left it too late but that feeling we could pull something off that people are writing us off for drives you to really cause an upset.”
Birmingham have won only two games all season having sacked manager Scott Booth in November after less than five months in charge following a winless seven-game start.
Interim head coach Darren Carter has been unable to significantly turn things round, but Quinn, who has played every minute of this season, feels there has been an upturn.
“It’s been a real battle and a struggle,” she said. “As the season has gone on, the performances have definitely improved.
“You’ve got to be realistic in that we had a change of manager and a big turnover of players. That’s something you’ve got to adapt to. At Everton they’ve struggled with this too.
“We 100 per cent weren’t going into the season thinking it was going to pan out this way, but we really had to physically be on top of other teams. That’s one thing, at the start of the season, we were not as fit as we should have been and being prepared for games as much as we could. We had a lot of new players come in that haven’t played in the WSL. Having played in a few countries, I know it is the best league to be playing in.
“When you play in the WSL, it’s 90 minutes of go. The strength of the teams from top to bottom, there’s still not an easy game.”
Quinn knows just how tough the WSL is having won the division with Arsenal in 2019, but also other top leagues like Serie A with Fiorentina and the Swedish Premier Division at Eskilstuna United.
Louise Quinn in action for Birmingham against Arsenal
The 31-year-old was desperate to return to the WSL and landed a move to Birmingham last summer after a year in Italy. Quinn has been enjoying her football more than ever now that she has a different mentality going into matches.
“I’m playing with no fear,” Quinn revealed. “I’m not feeling a huge amount of pressure going into games. I’ve experienced a lot. The disappointment of us not qualifying for Euro 2022 in that game against Ukraine was one of the worst feelings.
“I probably went into that game with fear and I thought I can’t let that happen again because I let something slip away. I used to overthink too much. At the end of the day football is just football.
“Now I take everything as it comes, play, have a bit of fun. That’s purely from experience and wanting to get the most out of it that I can.”
Republic of Ireland head coach Vera Pauw embraces Louise Quinn
Representing her country remains the main source of motivation for Quinn, who is regarded by many as an Ireland legend, although earning her 100th cap isn’t the priority.
“It’s my biggest motivation [in football], to be honest, pulling on the green jersey,” said Quinn. “I’m extremely proud of those 94 and if it was to stop there, but obviously it would be lovely to be in with that 100-cap crew because they’re legends of the game.
Republic of Ireland Women most caps:
- Emma Byrne – 134
- Olivia O’Toole – 130
- Áine O’Gorman – 112
- Ciara Grant – 105
- Niamh Fahey – 102
“If I can get that little gold hat, I’ll be delighted but my main aim is to at least get in the play-offs and then hopefully qualify for the World Cup. If that takes me up to 100, then perfect.”
How to follow the WSL on Sky Sports
Sky Sports – All 35 games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.
Sky Sports digital – Follow all the latest from the WSL across SkySpots.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports. You can watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week Barclays FA WSL fans can enjoy Sky Sports News (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the league and its storylines throughout the season.
Inside the WSL – Hosted by award-winning broadcaster and journalist Jessica Creighton, Inside the WSL is a comprehensive round-up of all things Barclays FA Women’s Super League and women’s football. Airing weekly from Thursday, September 9 on Sky Sports Premier League, the half an hour show will review and preview matches, include in-depth analysis and exclusive player interviews. Viewers can expect gripping behind-the-scenes access as well as a summary of all the action both on and off the pitch.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, a new bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
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