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'She really, really wants to play for Ireland' - English-born star set to be catapulted straight in

Vera Pauw has hinted that she will hand the ‘amazing’ Lucy Quinn her Ireland debut tonight.

Lucy Quinn training with the Ireland squad at Tallaght Stadium yesterday.
Lucy Quinn training with the Ireland squad at Tallaght Stadium yesterday.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated Sep 21st 2021, 11:55 AM

THIS TIME LAST week, Lucy Quinn didn’t have her hands on her Irish passport.

Tonight, she will more than likely make her debut in the green jersey at Tallaght Stadium.

Vera Pauw hinted yesterday that the Birmingham City star will be one of “two new starters” catapulted into the Republic of Ireland women’s side to face Australia in tonight’s glamour friendly [KO 7pm, live on RTÉ 2].

Hit hard by injury and other issues, the other could be Galway defender Savannah McCarthy, who has five senior caps though is yet to play in an Ireland team under Pauw.

Southampton-born Quinn received her Irish passport last Wednesday evening while in camp at the Castleknock Hotel, meaning a long-awaited green light in her quest to represent the Girls In Green.

The 27-year-old attacker qualifies through her grandparents, who hail from county Sligo, with the process beginning five years ago. Tracing family history, issues with paperwork and Brexit all proved barriers throughout, but Quinn is now officially the latest new face introduced through Pauw’s approach in searching out Irish-eligible players overseas.

And the Dutch coach is pleased with the capture, stressing how important she will be as Ireland look for an edge in the final third and target more goals amidst a seven-game losing streak.

“We were looking for extra quality and this process was going on for five years,” Pauw said yesterday. “Somehow it got stuck. We jumped in and pushed it to help her to get this passport.

“She really, really feels that she wants it, she wants to play for Ireland. When you see her in the group, she is amazing. She is playing week in, week out in the Women’s Super League [WSL]; always for 90 minutes and never injured, touch wood!

“So, of course, it adds something to our squad.”

The second L Quinn of Birmingham in there, Lucy is one of a massive Irish contingent at the Blues alongside her namesake Louise, Harriet Scott, Jamie Finn, Emily Whelan, Marie Hourihan and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle.

“Everybody who follows the WSL knows her,” Pauw added. “What I expect from her we need to see tomorrow – it is her first game here – but definitely she will bring the level of the WSL into the squad. That in itself is already a boost for us.”

Given the side have scored no goals in five of their seven consecutive losses to date, the hope is that a natural finisher will now take the mantle. Pauw agrees, but urges patience against higher-ranked opposition.

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vera-pauw Pauw at training yesterday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“It was also difficult because every time that you get to the goal of your opponent you are on your tip toes because your position is so high.

“We are getting closer and closer as you have all seen, we are getting better and better, and the moment will be there,” she smiles with a click of the fingers, “that it turns around and we score the goals.”

Pleased with her current 28-strong squad of “all fantastic individuals” who “grow so fast and so quickly,” Pauw was asked about one particular Australian international who perhaps got away.

Mary Fowler, the 18-year-old who starred for the Matildas at this summer’s Olympic Games, is Irish-eligible, and was indeed, very close to wearing the green jersey.

imago-20210410 Australia wonderkid Mary Fowler is Irish-eligible. Source: Imago/PA Images

With an Irish father and a Papua New Guinean mother, her Dublin-born older siblings, Ciara and Quivi, represented Ireland at underage level but Montpellier ace Mary, who was born in Cairns, has played solely for the Aussies.

And the reality is she could light up Tallaght Stadium tonight.

“Shame, eh,” Pauw conceded. “We were very close. I flew in and her Dad flew in, we had a very good meeting. The downside at the moment was that Ciara had already played for Ireland and Australia, and the family wanted to stay together.

“That was the key reason she didn’t choose Ireland. She was almost on her way. We did everything but I wished her good luck. I congratulated her and her Dad about her debut for Australia and her performances at the Olympic Games.

“That is sport and she had the right to choose what was best for her. She is doing wonderful and has a huge career in front of her. Unfortunately, it’s not with us.”

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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