Decision-time for Ireland's Louise Quinn as Birmingham suffer relegation

The relegation clause contained in her two-year contract means the centre-back isn’t duty-bound to stay around their tilt at making an immediate escape from the English Championship.
Decision-time for Ireland's Louise Quinn as Birmingham suffer relegation

Republic of Ireland women's footballer, Louise Quinn at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Stick or twist time looms for Louise Quinn and the Ireland place she’s made her own for the past decade will form a pivotal part of the criteria.

The relegation clause contained in her two-year contract means the centre-back isn’t duty-bound to stay around for Birmingham City’s tilt at making an immediate escape from the English Championship.

With five goals to her name, she also shone at the other end of the field, finishing as Birmingham’s top scorer. Feted by The Guardian as the best Women’s Super League recruit of the season, she won’t be short of opportunities to remain in the top-flight. Brighton and Hove Albion are believed to keen.

Quinn has got used to mobility, trekking from Ireland to Sweden, back to Notts County and Arsenal, rerouting to Fiorentina before settling with Birmingham 12 months ago.

Still, her latest dilemma is crucial. Approaching her 32nd birthday next month, she enters a critical phase for Ireland too.

Once next month’s back-match against bottom seeds Georgia is taken care of, it will take a major collapse in September’s concluding double-header against Finland and Slovakia for a World Cup playoff not to be secured for the following month.

She’ll want to be playing regularly by then and desirably at a decent level.

Vera Pauw hasn’t penalised regulars such as Liverpool’s Niamh Fahey for dropping down a tier but it is the resources attached to Birmingham’s quest that Quinn requires assurance on. The Blues already had a questionable record on player welfare before they lost their WSL status.

“We are competitive people but you learn a lot from relegation and figure out ways of hopefully getting back,” she said.

“I feel that's what the club wants to do and hopefully they keep their word on that.” Basic requirements like operating on suitable pitches and having access to car parks are the minimums Quinn would like to see as routine. Her future at the club could also be tied into whether manager, former Brum player Darren Carter, agrees a contract extension.

“St Andrews is a lovely pitch for matches but I don't think the training ground reflected that,” the Blessington woman explains. “The pitch was either a mud bath or solid as a rock.

“The consistency of the gym facilities are quite poor and we weren't given much priority over some of the younger teams.

“When you have U8s and U10s coming in, and every parent decides to bring their car, our schedule may have change to fit around space. It shouldn't have to be the way, stopping you having training.

“The club are talking about changing that to ensure priority is given where it needs to be.” Quinn, too, must establish her priorities.

“Everything I do is to make sure I'm fit and ready to go with the Irish team,” she said about surveying her options.

“I would love the challenge of trying to get promoted out of the Championship back to the WSL, just like Niamh did with Liverpool this season.

“I'm chatting with the club and hoping they still see the promise in the team.”  

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals took place at Aviva Stadium on Tuesday where Ireland international Louise Quinn was in attendance as girls and boys from 28 schools took to the field in a day that they will never forget.

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