'Mam went to the hot press and got a red towel as a red carpet... a Liverpool towel though!'

Arsenal and Ireland defender Louise Quinn is revelling in Women’s Super League glory.

LOUISE QUINN’S ARSENAL sealed the deal and were confirmed Women’s Super League [WSL] champions almost two weeks ago, but just now is it starting to sink in. 

arsenal Champions: Louise Quinn and Katie McCabe celebrate. Source: Arsenal WFC Twitter.

The Gunners clinched the title after beating Brighton 4-0 on 28 April but won’t lift the trophy until after their clash with second-placed Manchester City — who were crowned FA Cup champions last weekend — on Saturday.

“It’s still a little hard to believe, maybe when we get the hands on the trophy…” she ponders, “but yeah, it was a huge game.

“It was played in the Amex Stadium as well so it made it even feel like that bit of a bigger occasion. It felt incredible to bring Arsenal back where they were, and back where we belong. It was a long time coming.”

It’s been hard to get her head around it, the feelings indescribable and the achievement pretty significant. But the 28-year-old Wicklow native is getting there.

It’s starting to sink in. 

She tells stories of how the club put on a barbecue for the champions, and how the team walked around the Emirates with the men’s team and victorious U18s. But the first time seeing her parents since the big day has been almost out on its own. 

“I didn’t get home until late last night,” Quinn explains at this morning’s 20×20 event in Dublin, “but my Mam went up to the hot press and got a red towel — a red Liverpool towel though — as a red carpet.
“She’s such a cheese bag. Unfortunately it was a Liverpool towel. Well not unfortunately, but unfortunate for Arsenal it was a Liverpool towel! She’s gas like.

“Straight away, even when I got in the car with Dad, there was a big hug.”

While they celebrated two weeks ago at home in Blessington, her proud parents and her sister will be at Meadow Park on Saturday [KO 12.30pm] to witness the trophy lift and enjoy further festivities in London.

It will be an extremely proud moment, that’s for sure. And one she’ll have the pleasure of sharing with Ireland team-mate and captain Katie McCabe.

A deserved climax after difficult times for the towering defender. A reminder of how far she’s come since the Notts County ladies team folded this time two years ago, and she was left reeling until Arsenal took her on.

That, paired with the strong Irish tradition she and McCabe have continued at the club, make it all the more exceptional.

“From where I would have started to actually being a champion with Arsenal,” she smiles.

Louise Quinn At today's 20x20 event. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Obviously you have these things of what you want to achieve and do but I don’t think I ever thought I would actually be playing for Arsenal and winning trophies. To be in there with the likes of Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracy, Ciara Grant, Niamh Fahey.

“They have way more trophies than myself and Katie now, but even to just edge there… seeing the girls doing that was like, ‘Ok, well yeah, I can go and play, I can go and achieve something’.

“Now the fact that it’s actually Arsenal and there is such a strong Irish connection in that club all over. There’s pictures of Liam Brady and David O’Leary around the place.

“The girls as well, we still make sure that their names are brought up constantly to let them know the Irish history there.”

That really came through at the Amex two weeks ago, when herself and 23-year-old McCabe shared a “little moment” in the dressing room afterwards.

Of course, it’ll be the same this weekend.

“I was just like, ‘It’s brilliant having you here, and the fact that we’re doing this for Ireland as well, to represent in that way,’” Quinn recalls. “She was just like, ‘Yeah, we’re in there with the girls now’.

Louise Quinn with Lieke Martens and Stephanie van der Gragt Facing the Dutch in 2018. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We were just happy to be doing it together. We’d be feeling a bit differently about it otherwise. It feels great. We’ll have the Irish flag out on Saturday I’m sure.”

The tricolours were most definitely flying high in Wembley last weekend as Leanne Kiernan’s West Ham and Megan Campbell’s City faced off in the FA Cup final. 

And while Quinn feels that Irish players plying their trade in across the water in England is beyond beneficial for Colin Bell’s side, she was there with her Arsenal team-mates in full supporter mode, cheering them on each and every step of the way.

“Unfortunately Megan didn’t play and we were disappointed that Leanne didn’t start, but when she came on, My God,” she grins. “Even girls on our own team were like, ‘That girl Leanne’ when she came on. I was like, ‘I know!’

“The girls joke [saying], ‘We’ll play the Irish way’ — just a little joke about strong defending, this, that and the other. I was like, ‘Didn’t you just tell me how much you liked Leanne there in the FA Cup?’ She was like, ‘Yeah, I did actually…’

“For her then to hopefully be making a name for herself. She really did change that game for West Ham, it was incredible.”

Not even is it ust beneficial, playing overseas is almost essential to success at this stage and Bell has made a huge statement on that front since taking charge of the Girls In Green. 

After falling short of World Cup qualification and with the tournament in France just around the corner, Quinn is understandably jealous of her Arsenal team-mates and WSL opponents preparing to strut their stuff on the world’s biggest stage.

“We’ve had a lot of time to register it,” she frowns. “So many of our team-mates are going.

“It hurts but you’ve got to get over it as well. We didn’t make it. We did have a very tough group but at the time, maybe we weren’t just up to that standard to qualify — or just weren’t ready.

“We’re massively supportive of the girls but I haven’t chosen who I actually will support yet! That’s controversial.”

While she hasn’t nailed her colours to the mast, she’s tipping England and the Netherlands to shine. But Quinn will be watching one team in particular very closely.

Germany are top seeds in Ireland’s Euro 2021 qualifying group, with the new campaign kicking off in late August. And likewise, they’ll have learned plenty from the last bid to take forward.

Source: 20x20 Campaign/YouTube

“I feel like what that World Cup group did for us has really set us up for this Euros group,” she says.

“I’m going to be watching every World Cup game checking out Germany and all this to get an idea. I’m going to be jealous of those players but I’m going to take that and try not be in a position again where we’re not in major tournament.

“You just don’t want to have that feeling of watching them. You want to be in there doing it.

She concludes: “It’s been a process, and that [qualifying] is 100% the next goal to us and to Colin.

“We started that tournament back in January to him. There is no friendly game, it’s an international match. For us, it’s already started.”

Three’s 20×20 Ambassador, Irish International and recently-crowned Women’s Super League Champion with Arsenal, Louise Quinn, as part of the second phase of the 20×20 campaign is calling on people to hero your hero by paying tribute to your sporting role model on social media using #CantSeeCantBe.


Gavan Casey, Murray Kinsella and Bernard Jackman tee up Saturday’s Champions Cup final and look at the backroom problems in Munster.:

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