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Sunday 20 October 2019

Quinn worked hard on her style to earn Arsenal title glory

Louise Quinn. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Louise Quinn. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The aura of self-assurance and calm satisfaction that Louise Quinn exudes was earned the hard way.

The Blessington 28-year-old is still coming to terms with a morale-boosting dividend that's been paid for by a lifetime of commitment to footballing excellence.

Less than a fortnight ago, Louise was on the Arsenal Women's team that clinched the Women's Super League title with a game in hand.

"I still haven't processed it yet," she says of this sporting highlight. "When we get the trophy on Saturday, I will."

Not everyone is waiting till after Arsenal and Manchester City tomorrow to begin to review Quinn's career.

Already there's the card Louise has received from "one of my coaches from when I was 10" that said: 'You've come so far from the fields filled with cow dung to now being a champion with Arsenal'."

Quinn tells the story in a matter-of-fact tone, adding: "It's huge for her. And, at the same time, I remember everything that she did for me. You have those role models."

And here's Louise, an ambassador for Three's 20x20 campaign designed to highlight the importance of female sporting role models, recalling how "in terms of professional football, I was quite late to the party".

She already had a degree from UCD when she signed with Eskilstuna United, a second division club in Sweden.

"I completed everything I could have in Sweden," says the six foot tall centre-back. "From the second division to the Champions League in four years was incredible."

The Arsenal tower of power, who cites Blessington Boys and Lakeside Girls as the youth teams that preceded her eight year stint with Peamount United, took herself out of a potential Swedish comfort zone and signed with Notts County.

"A dark moment," is how Louise described her introduction to the WSL.

The club folded within ten weeks of Louise signing.

"It made me reassess everything," she reveals. "I had to look at what I wanted to do after football because anything can happen. You say that in terms of injuries but I lost my job (clicks fingers) just like that."

Louise has now added personal training studies and sports therapy to her list of qualifications.

But it's playing football that's her prime focus. And as Gunners' head coach Joe Montemurro and Ireland boss Colin Bell will testify, it's something she excels at.

As luck would have it, just when Notts County collapsed, Arsenal needed cover for a couple of centre-backs who were injured. Quinn was offered a short term contract.

"They had two brilliant young girls that come in who were 17 or 18," Louise recalls. "They were a surprise to everyone and they kept me out for some of the games in the spring series. But then thankfully they saw the potential in me."

That might have something to do with Louise getting above other players to deal with incoming traffic.

"The aerial ability that I had was something that contributes to that team," she says. "It's a big football playing team but sometimes we were losing possession in the middle of the pitch because no one could get up and head the ball and take control of that. The physical side of my game. Heading the ball."

Totally committed to improving, Quinn relishes each training session.

"It's a match for me every day," she reveals. "It's a competition. I have to make sure I'm in that starting eleven. I've had to massively adapt my game from being that kind of physical defender, to now playing with my feet on the edge of the box. It's brave football. It's risky but it's so enjoyable."

With her hard work and dedication paying off, Louise Quinn, an athlete in her prime, can look forward to next season with a thrilling sense of possibility.

Arsenal back in the Champions League with a developing squad and an improving Ireland ready to push for qualification for Euro 2012.

"It's going to be a long season," states Louise. "I've been in the Ireland squad for ten years now and to see where it is now, you want to take it forward and be in that tournament."

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