Quinlan was only added to the squad prior to departure last week when experienced out-half Ross Byrne was ruled out of the tournament, and he had never been capped for the Irish U20s.
However, you wouldn’t have thought that when he stepped forward and nailed a penalty from the right touchline in the final play of the game to snatch victory. The win was no more than Ireland deserved but they made life difficult for themselves in the sweltering heat and failed to take a string of good try opportunities.
However, coach Nigel Carolan believes that the quality is there to do well, if only they can turn hard-won possession into scores on the board. He will do his best to ensure they do that on Saturday when facing a Scotland team who beat them in their final Six Nations match.
“We will take a lot of encouragement from how we played. If we could just tidy up and tighten the screws in terms of accuracy, we will certainly be looking forward to that encounter.
“It is important for us that we got off to a winning start in this championship. It keeps us alive and our guys certainly won’t fear Scotland. Actually, if anything we will look forward to playing against them,” said Carolan.
Ireland should have been well ahead at the break, but had to be content with 9-6 after they left tries behind them.
Stephen Fitzgerald knocked out with the line in sight and, when he did get over later, it was whistled back for a dubious forward pass from Joey Carbery.
Carbery, slotted in for his first start when Byrne was ruled out, showed good composure throughout, building on a fourth-minute penalty to land five from six.
However, with Billy Dardis stopped short and Ireland struggling in scrum and lineout, they were relieved to be 9-6 in front at the break, with Domingo Miotto kicking a penalty and drop goal for Argentina.
Ireland suffered a huge blow just after the restart, when Santiago Portillo got over in the right corner, with Miotto landing the conversion to make it 13-9.
Ireland hit back with Carbery kicking a 40-metre penalty and he made it five from five 25 minutes from the end from 30 metres.
However, he missed a penalty after 67 minutes which looked set to prove costly when Argentina struck three minutes from time to edge back in front when full-back Emiliano Bofelli kicked an excellent penalty from the right.
That looked to be enough to take the wind out of Ireland’s championship bid, but they kept their nerve to mount a final rally and, when the opportunity was presented, the years Quinlan spent looking at Ronan O’Gara served him well as he emerged the unlikely hero.
Penalties: J Carbery (5), T Quinlan (1)
Tries: S Portillo; Penalties: D Miotti (1), E Boffelli (1); Conversions: D Miotti (1); Drop-goal: D Miotti
B Dardis; J Stockdale, G Ringrose, S Arnold, S Fitzgerald; J Carbery, N McCarthy (capt); J Loughman, Z McCall, O Heffernan; D O’Connor, A Thompson; J Murphy, R Moloney, L Dow
A Porter for Loughman (8 mins), S McNulty for McCall (63), C O’Donnell for Heffernan (63), J Dwan for Thompson (63), N Timoney for Moloney (63), C Rock for McCarthy (71), F Cleary for Arnold (78), T Quinlan for Carbery (78)
E Boffelli; E Achilli, T Granella, B Ezcurra (capt), S Resino; D Miotti, L Bazán Vélez; J Díaz, I Calles, C Bartoloni; V Rosti, I Larrague; J Deheza, L Gasparri, E Olmedo Paz.
S Portillo for Olmedo Paz (12-15, 40 mins), E Bello for Bartoloni (40), N Ocello for Diaz (51), I Calas for Deheza (51), J Cruz Mallia for Achilli (58), P Baronio for Bazan Velez (63), I Albornoz for Miotti (66), G Baldunciel for Calles (66)
Lloyd Linton (Scotland)