Busy Michael Quinn set for International Rules debut and is proud to answer Ireland's call

First country, then club - Michael Quinn is making light of his arduous playing schedule this weekend.
Busy Michael Quinn set for International Rules debut and is proud to answer Ireland's call

The Longford man is set to make his International Rules debut in Croke Park on Saturday before he lines out with Killoe Éire Óg less than 19 hours later as they hope to make their first Leinster senior club final.

No club from Longford ever contested the decider, which makes Sunday’s semi-final clash with Portlaoise in O’Moore Park all the more formidable. But Quinn, who spent three years with AFL club Essendon, is taking it all in his stride.

“It’s a difficult challenge,” he accepts. “It’s about putting things in place so I can give the best for both. I think I can give it my all on both days. I’d prefer to have it this way than to have to make a decision and having regrets down the line. I’ll deal with whatever happens on the Saturday and Sunday and hopefully it will be a good weekend.”

Not for a second did Quinn consider quitting Ireland to fully focus on his club commitments. This being his third attempt at making the Ireland squad, he wasn’t going to suddenly give it up.

“Back in September in the lead-up to the county final, I was after being involved in the Irish set-up for five or six weeks and I was thinking, ‘It’s getting busy here’. I’ve been training Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week for the last five or six weeks. It was building up every week and I did look into stepping away.

“Joe (Kernan) was understanding about being lenient when you were playing certain games, to allow you to try and balance both. I had talked with my girlfriend and family about stepping back from that side of things.”

Quinn, 25, follows Liam Tierney, Dessie Barry and Paul Barden as Longford players to have donned the Ireland jersey. “It’s probably as high an honour personally that can be achieved at the moment. Being from Longford, you are always wondering if you are really at the same level as these guys on television that you see playing in September. It makes you believe that you are as good .”

A provincial title is 120 minutes away from Quinn and Killoe. Their clash with Portlaoise is a repeat of their 2012 semi-final when Éire Óg lost by three points..

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