Monday 11 December 2017

Don't forget to remember me . . .

Fit-again Quinn is keen to remind O'Neill of his talents

Stephen Quinn in action for the Republic of Ireland against Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night Photo: Sportsfile
Stephen Quinn in action for the Republic of Ireland against Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night Photo: Sportsfile
Quinn’s Reading teammate Paul McShane. Photo: Sportsfile

Back in the day of Mick McCarthy's reign as Ireland manager, Irish newspapers had a stand-by headline ready for stories about players who were out in the cold of the international stage but still had ambitions: Don't Forget Me, Mick.

You get the feeling that in the months after qualification for Euro 2016 was secured, and in the days leading up to last week's friendly against Switzerland, a batch of Ireland players felt like shouting something similar.

As fresh faces crowded into the squad this week, a clamour for (well-deserved) debuts behind them, it was easy to forget that old warriors who were on the road for the start of this venture were still around and still had something to offer.

The cornerstone for the successful qualification bid was the narrow, hard-fought but important win away to Georgia but from the team which won in Tbilisi, five players (David Forde, Marc Wilson, Stephen Quinn, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane) were, or still are, in danger of missing out on a place in the squad for France.

Reading midfielder Quinn got the nod to start at home to the Swiss on Friday and while he's not yet guaranteed a place in the 23-man squad, he has at least reminded people that he hasn't shuffled off the scene.

"Hopefully I am not the forgotten man that some people thought I was," says Quinn, back in the side after a tough time with injury.

"I missed the last three or four games in the campaign due to injury, which was disappointing, but I was delighted to see the lads get through and qualify.

"I had a long three months out with injury, that killed me at the start of the season, to be honest. But I am back playing now, geiting my fitness back. The manager started me on Friday and I was delighted with that."

Quinn has been around the game long enough - he's only 29 but he was playing alongside grown men in the League of Ireland 12 years ago - to know that a cap in a friendly at home to the Swiss in March might not mean a lot when it comes to the Euros.

In the past

"I don't want to be forgotten about, but the group games are in the past and it's what you do today that matters," added Quinn.

"You can look back on your career and say 'I did such and such, I should be playing' but life isn't like that. I know it's a cliché but you have to take each game as it comes.

"If you're not in good form in the games, if you're not doing the business, then the manager will see that and he will only take to France the people who are in form and will do a job for him. You have to stay on top of things.

"It is going to be hard to get into the squad, we have a lot of quality around the place, good young lads coming through, lads who are tough, honest and hard-working. It's up to the manager and it's out of our hands, all we can do is try hard on the pitch and catch his eye, leave it up to him and hopefully get on the plane.

Quinn shed blood in the line of duty on Friday, a Swiss boot to the face leaving him with a cut on his nose but that won't keep him back tomorrow night, if called upon.

"I got a chance on Friday but I want more tomorrow. Hopefully I can get on the ball more. And I'd love to see Maccer (Paul McShane) get a run, he's chomping at the bit, he's our captain with the club and I'd love to see him play tomorrow."

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