When the media last looked at Louise Quinn’s long career, Birmingham City were in a tailspin from the Women’s Super League.
Carefree. The Irish defense link would likely prioritize his own future, at 32, joining a club cemented in the English top flight or securing Champions League football on the continent or introducing that six-foot frame in American football.
“No, not for me,” Quinn said on a sunny morning in Castleknock ahead of Finland’s visit to Tallaght for Thursday’s penultimate World Cup qualifier. “I just went with what felt right and how I wanted to enjoy my football, how you want [to live] life off the pitch as well.
“Everything was fine for me to stay in Birmingham. There are also a lot of Irish. I just missed an Irish weekend festival – Finbar Furey, Sharon Shannon, the works. They all played there… Imelda May and absolute legends like Dubliners, it was Megan’s [Campbell] grandfather’s group.
The great Eamonn Campbell left this rock in 2017.
“And it was just down the road from me,” Quinn continued. “No, I like Birmingham.”
It’s an accurate snapshot of the lesser-heralded member of an Irish triumvirate who have endeavored to take the national team to places no Irish team has been before – a World Cup.
For all the verve of Katie McCabe and the steel of Denise O’Sullivan, Quinn’s interventions proved equally valuable throughout the uprising.
“Now we have the opportunity to make sure the game continues to grow and grow and yes, that’s what we want to do. We don’t want it to really stop.
Growing a fragile professional sport must sometimes feel like torture. No professional footballer can simply retire once the game is over with her. The wage gap with men is more galactic than generational. Astronauts will farm on Mars before equal pay becomes a reality, as WSL salaries range from £20,000 to £250,000.
Per year, rather than per week.
Life is about feeling wanted at a club where circumstances force them to settle in too briefly. Quinn has toured homes with stints in Sweden and Fiorentina on either side of a false start in Notts County and a memorable three years at Arsenal.
She says she’s still the same Vera but she’s a better Vera
“For me personally [the connection is] massive. And it’s probably the same for all Irish girls. It’s about trying to find a home away from home.
“Obviously in Sweden and Italy it was a bit more difficult and I struggled a bit more there. At Arsenal it was also a sense of belonging and environment, but it is football, things happen and contracts end and sometimes you have to move on.
“But for me Birmingham now has that good mix of a 40 minute flight home, lots of Irish people in the area and in the team as well, that balance and feeling of home away from home, this comfort.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted in my career, you want to share everything with your loved ones as much as you can. And we don’t get the money that men get, where they can go and get their So you actually have to do your dream job away from your loved ones, close family and close friends and then connect with them when you can.
“It’s a very different city, but I love it. They are mad.
The recent historical demons that surround women’s football have yet to be exorcised. North Carolina pair Courage O’Sullivan and Diane Caldwell have fought their way through this qualifying campaign despite club coach Paul Riley being fired following accusations by two former players of abusive behavior and sexually coercive.
Caldwell moved to Manchester United and has since joined Reading, while O’Sullivan recently dropped plans to return to Europe by extending his US contract until 2024.
“Courage is my home,” explained the Cork midfielder.
Amid global uproar over Riley’s alleged actions – the Englishman has denied any wrongdoing – Ireland coach Vera Pauw was quietly preparing to reveal jaw-dropping allegations of rape and sexual abuse from there. is 30 years old by three men formerly employed in Dutch football.
“It was one of those things that’s very hard to hear from someone you’re so close to in a camp,” Quinn said. “But for me, how she carried herself as a person, she was composed, she was brave, she was strong – she’s going to help a lot of people.
“She says she’s still the same Vera but she’s a better Vera. She’s always going to be the great manager that she is, but for her on a personal level to have that bit of freedom is fantastic.
“She’s the bravest woman on our team right now and we’re supporting her all the way.”