Sunday 23 October 2016

Straight Outta Abbotstown: Ireland players go to cinema ahead of Gibraltar clash

Players opt for movie as Quinn prepares for Gibraltar

Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Quinn at squad training in Abbotstown. Pic: Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Quinn at squad training in Abbotstown. Pic: Sportsfile

One of the things that kicked off That Incident in Saipan was Roy Keane's belief that players who were too tired to train would have the time and energy to play golf.

The ghosts of 2002 have dissipated but threat game involving white balls and sticks got a mention in the Irish team camp ahead of tomorrow's Euro qualifier against Gibraltar here in Portugal.

According to midfielder Stephen Quinn, the Reading man who stands a chance of making the starting XI in Faro tomorrow night, a trip around 18 holes was mooted but then booted off the agenda.

Perhaps it was the fear of imagery: if Gibraltar players see pictures of the Irish boys in their golf gear when they should be swotting up on the opposition it could be seen as laziness or disrespect.

Quinn admits that Ireland not only have to win tomorrow, but win well, and maybe it was the fear of sending out the wrong message which saw that called off.

"The lads wanted a round of golf this week and that was knocked on the head as we wanted to concentrate on these two games that are really big for us in the grand scheme of things," said Quinn bedore this morning's flight to Faro.


"The lads did go to the cinema on Tuesday night but the golf was knocked on the head and that was that."

The squad opted to go and see the biopic Straight Outta Compton for their night out earlier this week but not Quinn who had more modest tastes: he stayed in the hotel to watch the Dundalk-Shamrock Rovers game on TV, some familiar faces as ex-team mates from Irish teams like Patrick Cregg were on view.

That clash was possibly as entertaining as that flick about the NWA boys but for Quinn, this week is about points and nothing else.

A cliché in football these days is that "there are no easy games in international football" as nations like Andorra and San Marino are no longer the whipping boys of past times,

But Gibraltar are the expeption to the rule, the men from the Rock holding the worst record in the qualifiers so far.

So, it this a hard game to prepare for?

"It is and it isn't," says Quinn. "They are what they are, Gibraltar. They are having a good lash at it to be fair to them but we should be beating these and beating them comfortably, going by all the last games they played.

"We will prepare like we always prepare, the details going into the videos and watching them again, their last games, You have to get out of the traps early, get the goals early and finish off the game. We don't want any upsets, we don't want them getting any confidence in the game.

"We need to get early goals and kill the game early, get it done and we can concentrate on the big game on Monday.

"Everyone has to stay on their toes as you could get lackadaisical if the team you are playing against aren't great, you think you could get a walkover," added Quinn.

"With these games there is a bit of pressure because, 100%, we should be beating them but I wouldn't say it was difficult.


"I don't see why we shouldn't go out and enjoy the game, try and get as many goals we can and express ourselves. That will get the confidence up for the Georgia game."

For Quinn, a key element of preparation for tomorrow is to ignore events in Tbilisi where, we hope, Scotland can drop points against Georgia.

"You can't take your eye of the ball, you concentrate on your own things and get own ducks in a row first. We have to get the result against Gibraltar and then look at the result of Scotland game afterwards," added Quinn, who feels that qualification can still comer the way of this Irish side.

"We've got the quality there," he says. "In the second half against Scotland we could have won the game. We were coming strong and we've been coming strong in all the games to be honest - once we get that finishing touch. Hopefully we can get some good results and I'm pretty confident in this squad. It's a good squad to be around."

A good squad but a hard team to get into, with more competition in midfield now with the arrival of players like Harry Arter and Eunan O'Kane.

"It's great competition. Bournemouth did great getting to the Premier League. There are a lot of midfielders here and places are up for grabs so why not come in and try to set the tone to give yourself a chance of a starting place?

"We know each other's game so it's not hard to get ettled into. I came into the team against Georgia and we got a good result. I played against Georgia with Dave Meyler and Whelo [Glenn Whelan] so we know each other's game inside out. I'd be looking forward to it if I got my chance."

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