Louise Quinn cautious as Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team begin EURO 2017 campaign
As excitement mounts over the start of the EURO 2007 campaign tomorrow when the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team face Finland at Tallaght Stadium (7.30m, live on Setanta Ireland), vice-captain Louise Quinn has sounded a note of caution.
The 25-year-old centre-half is a commanding figure within the Irish squad and, while she accepts that Group 2 is a lot better than some of the groups Ireland have found themselves in over the last few years, she warns that nobody should be underestimating the challenges the side face over the next 12 months in their bid to qualify for the European Championship finals for the first time.
“I think overall, looking at the group, it is a very tough group. I feel there are four teams competing in it. We have to play well and, if we can get the results and other results go our way, then we have a chance of qualifying. It is one of the better groups we have been in but it is still a tough group,” said Quinn.
Spain, who were at the recent World Cup in Canada, Finland, who have qualified for the last three European championships, a rapidly improving Portugal and Montenegro, who only lost 1-0 away to the Finn last Thursday, are the other teams in the group and Quinn is under no illusions about the task facing the Irish tomorrow night in Tallaght.
“There are a few Finnish players in our league and obviously they are talented players. I feel they will be a tough team to beat, they will very well organised, physical when they have to be and they have the ability to hurt us if we are not on our game. We will have to work hard and take our chances because it is very important that we do well against them as they are second seeds in the group.
“We are all very relaxed about it. We know we can do well and that we are viewed as outsiders as we are the third seeds. I am excited that the campaign is about to get underway and I feel that the more you are enjoying your football, the better you play,” said Quinn who plays in Sweden for Eskilstuna United current leaders of the Swedish League by four points with four games to go.
“Things are going really well with my club team over in Sweden, Eskilstuna, We are doing well, near the top at the moment, and just taking each game as it comes. I am really enjoying my football at the moment and it is great to be in with the Irish squad for our first qualifier.”
Since the last qualifying campaign, Ireland manager Sue Ronan has strengthened her squad with the addition of Katie McCabe, who turns 20 tomorrow, and Clare Shine who were part of the Ireland team that reached the semi-finals of the European U19 Championships in 2014. The fact that the two youngsters have broken into the squad so early is testament to their ability according to Quinn,
“It is a tough transition to move from Under 19 to senior but they are in the squad because they are good enough to be here. Age is not an issue and it is great to see girls coming through the ranks especially as the U19s and U17s have been doing very well in recent years.”
UCD Waves midfielder Dora Gorman has been ruled out the game with a knee injury picked up in a recent club game but, other than that, Ireland have no injury worries ahead of the game so manager Sue Ronan will be able to select from a full strength squad when she names her team shortly before kick-off tomorrow.
“This is a big game for us as Finland are second seeds and, if we are to have any chance of qualifying, we will have to finish in front of them or Spain,” said Ronan. “We have a tough start as we also play Portugal away in October and are at home to Spain in November so it’s important that we get out of the blocks fast and put points on the board as Finland have already beaten Montenegro. With the top two likely to qualify there is a mood of optimism among the players but we have now got to get the job done. It won’t be easy but we are all very determined to give it our all.”
Admission to tomorrow’s game is €5 for adults and €2 for schoolchildren and students and there will be a Continental Tyres Fan Zone inside the Stadium from 6.30pm
VIDEO: Gareth Maher interviews Louise Quinn
Republic of Ireland Squad (v Finland)
Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Grace Maloney (Reading), Niamh Reid Burke (Shelbourne).
Defenders: Megan Campbell (Florida State University); Meabh De Burca (Galway), Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna); Grace Murray (Newry City), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion).
Midfielders: Diane Caldwell (Avaldsness), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves), Rachel Graham (Shelbourne), Siobhan Killeen (Shelbourne), Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Julie-Ann Russell (UCD Waves).
Forwards: Carol Breen (Wexford Youths), Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic), Katie McCabe (Shelbourne), Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City), Stephanie Roche (Sunderland), Clare Shine (Glasgow City).