Louise Quinn thanking Ireland fans after Friday night's win. Tom Maher/INPHO

'We've tasted tournament football and we want to do it again'

Louise Quinn on the ‘really enjoyable’ Ireland set-up and the need to deliver.

SO FAR, SO good. Louise Quinn is thoroughly enjoying this new chapter for Irish women’s football.

With 111 senior international caps to her name and no shortage of club set-ups experienced, the Birmingham City defender is well versed to speak on the current state of play.

Quinn’s former manager at Peamount United, Eileen Gleeson, is in interim charge as the FAI nail down Vera Pauw’s permanent successor.

Gleeson has overseen three Uefa Nations League wins to date, with 12 goals scored and just one conceded as Ireland sit top of Group B1, on the cusp of promotion to League A — which would significantly boost their Euro 2025 qualification hopes.

There appears to be a real positive vibe in camp, and Quinn confirms as much.

“Really enjoyable,” she told reporters after Friday night’s 5-1 win over Albania at Tallaght Stadium.

“A few changes and things we have to adapt to. Obviously it’s a big shift of change from the games that we were playing in the World Cup to lower-ranked opponents, but we still have so much we have to work on. The changes we have implemented; Eilo coming in, we know her so well, Colin [Healy], Richie [Fitzgibbon], the lads, they have so much experience.

“And so much background staff, the support is unbelievable for us. They’re brilliant people. They’re constantly just looking out for us, trying to do their best for us and the buzz has been really, really nice in camp.”

Legendary goalkeeper Emma Byrne is another key figure in the set-up, along with newly-added performance coach Ivi Casagrande — formerly of the Brazil women’s national team — nutritionist Dr Brendan Egan and psychologist Sarah Murray.

“We have upped the ranks even in terms of the support that we get so we have everything to be our best,” Quinn continued. “It puts more on us as the players. They’re giving us everything they can to perform in terms of nutritionists, psychologists, S&C.

eileen-gleeson-and-louise-quinn-thank-fans-after-the-game Quinn with Eileen Gleeson after last month's win over Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“Sometimes you have it at club level and we didn’t have it as much at international level in the past while, they’re giving us all the tools so we’ve got to make sure we use it.

“Looking at personal performances, I’ve got to be like, ‘They’ve put me in the best place so I’ve got to make sure I deliver on the pitch.’”

Stability has been hugely important, with on-field results doing no harm either as confidence is built and a more front-footed style is developed.

While “off” and “lacking energy” in the first half on Friday, thankfully there have been no alarming signs of a comedown or lull post-World Cup. Albeit against lower-ranked opposition, that’s hugely important. Particularly amidst the managerial turbulence and what not else. The transition has been pretty seamless thus far.

“Some of the changes are important for us to progress. We want it so bad, we want to keep growing. We’ve tasted tournament football and we want to do it again in the Euros.

“It was a quick turnaround. In moments, it’s definitely been quite mentally draining. Physically, I’ve personally felt alright but mentally, it’s a tough one to keep constantly going and going. Again, you kind of enjoy that challenge. That’s what other teams have been doing every year — the English girls, Netherlands girls, just going tournament after tournament. It looks so tough. You’re trying to adapt to that and get that help from the staff that we’ve now got as well, that’s been able to really carry us through.”

louise-quinn-and-diane-caldwell-with-alex-morgan Quinn and Caldwell in full flight. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Quinn, 33, also had some kind words for centre-half partner-in-crime Diane Caldwell, who joined her in the WNT Centurion Club on Friday night, having made her debut in March 2006.

“Ah, I’ve known Diane since I’ve been 14 or 15 and she was the U17 captain,” she smiled. “I remember her being such a leader back then and really looking up to her for me coming in.

“That’s how she’s always been her entire career. That girl, she wears her heart on her sleeve, she’s exactly how you see her. She’s an excellent team-mate, it’s been an honour to play beside her.

“To get to that 100th cap… we were speaking about it and I was getting goosebumps from it because I know how special it is. She’s someone who has been there for so long, been through a lot, ups and downs, but one thing, she’s always been there for the team. 100% all the time. We’re absolutely thrilled for her, she deserves this. Totally deserved.”

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