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Monday 5 December 2016

'Penny has dropped'

Quinn says Germany win was the night O'Neill vision finally clicked with players

Bus and Niall Quinn, were boys from St Laurence O’ Toole’s Junior Boys School, Joel Ilogue,
Temitope Falegan, Majd Mubarak and Sean Daluz. Picture Colm Mahady/Fennells
Niall Quinn and Dublin Bus CEO Ray Coyne were joined by community groups
from across Dublin that benefitted from winning a prize bursary from last
year’s Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards (CSAs). Coming together to
launch the CSAs for 2016, the groups include the World Malayalee Council,
Ireland, Malahide Basketball Club, Monkstown Boxing Club and St Laurence
O Toole’s Junior School. The CSAs have enabled these groups to fund and
organise festivals, purchase new equipment and develop new student
programmes for their communities. Using long-term, unclaimed passenger
change, Dublin Bus helps the community groups of Dublin reach their full
potential through the CSAs.
Bus and Niall Quinn, were boys from St Laurence O’ Toole’s Junior Boys School, Joel Ilogue, Temitope Falegan, Majd Mubarak and Sean Daluz. Picture Colm Mahady/Fennells Niall Quinn and Dublin Bus CEO Ray Coyne were joined by community groups from across Dublin that benefitted from winning a prize bursary from last year’s Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards (CSAs). Coming together to launch the CSAs for 2016, the groups include the World Malayalee Council, Ireland, Malahide Basketball Club, Monkstown Boxing Club and St Laurence O Toole’s Junior School. The CSAs have enabled these groups to fund and organise festivals, purchase new equipment and develop new student programmes for their communities. Using long-term, unclaimed passenger change, Dublin Bus helps the community groups of Dublin reach their full potential through the CSAs.

Part of the brief in covering the Republic of Ireland team is sitting in on Martin O'Neill's press conferences and listening to his jokes.

A lot of those gags fall flat and are hard to get.

But the Republic of Ireland squad certainly 'get' O'Neill and his message, according to former international Niall Quinn.

It's taken time, and there was the added work of lifting the burden that had fallen on the team which flopped in Poland four years ago and struggled in the aftermath, but Quinn now sees the impact that O'Neill has had over this group of Irish players, Quinn getting a preview of that O'Neill touch at Sunderland.

"I can only say from what I hear. He passes the baton onto the players to create this spirit," says Quinn.

Jaded

"I saw him do it at Sunderland. We were in the bottom three - within a few months we were in the top eight and had beaten Arsenal.

"There were things he got the same group of players to do - players who were jaded, playing nervously because they were in the bottom three - and he got them to do things that has taken longer to do with Ireland. It has taken a while for it all to knit into place. It was taking a while, at the start, for him to create this thing.

"But the night against Germany changed everything. I think then the players got it," added Quinn.

"They got it that this isn't about the fellas who have the perfect masseur, the most perfect tactical planner, the perfect video assessor. There is more to it, playing for Ireland. It's good to have all that, to compete and shoot above your weight, which is what we are asking of Martin and the players, I think Martin and the players all know it.

"I wouldn't quite say the players strut now but I would say they have a determination about them whereas a couple of years ago, they appeared laboured, and they have this wonderful opportunity now."

Of course the Irish side also had an opportunity in 2012 and blew it, though Quinn senses that the mistakes of four years ago will not be repeated, which is why he's not that concerned about the fitness of injured, or recently-injured, players like Seamus Coleman, Jon Walters and Shay Given.

"You would love to see everyone flying in the Premier League getting them together for a period of time, just before the tournament starts, that is the most important time, having come from the cooling off of the Premier League. We got that terribly wrong under Trapattoni," Quinn explains.

"We got them in too quick and trained them too hard. They tried to get it on that one par and then by the time the Euros came, I don't think the players were at their fittest.

"I could tell there was tiredness in a couple of our games - all of them really.

"That said, I see this being different, whereby Martin will cool it down and then heat it up. There is an actual dip after the end of the season but when you are putting tactics up on a board the night before a game, it doesn't matter how you did in the Premier League four weeks ago. Mentally, I have no doubt Martin will have them in a great place."

Proud of the Tipperary roots which he shares with Shane Long, Quinn is a big admirer of the Southampton man and it's high praise indeed from Quinn to class Long's goal against Germany last year as is "probably the best night in Irish football, up there in the top three or four nights in Irish football".

"If he gets a goal or two in the Euros, he is well on the way to having the best period of his life and maximising his abilities," says Quinn.

"Don't ask me why it didn't work at West Brom and Hull and why they sold him but it's all come good for him.

"As a late developer myself I would be very proud of what he does. Hopefully he carries it on. His work rate and ability is just getting better and better and that's just what Ireland need."

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