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Women’s Football Is Building Something. We Want To Push That Forward.

Exclusive interview with Louise Quinn

How far we have come. Just four years ago, PFAI solicitor, Stuart Gilhooly declared, “They are being treated as a fifth-class citizen, the dirt on the FAI’s shoe,” as the Women’s National Team threatened to withdraw from playing for their country. Players were frustrated over the absence of the fundamental basics; a lack of match fees, hand-me-down tracksuits and being forced to change in public toilets on the way to matches.

 

Lessons have been learned and steps towards parity made. After a landmark agreement with the FAI, the women’s team will receive €2,000 per match. No more and significantly, no less than their male counterparts.

 

A new stand-alone sponsorship with Sky has been secured, while tickets to games are being sold out in minutes. There is huge excitement surrounding this team.

 

All this backing and support however brings more than just PR packages and extra supporters. The newly appointed Birmingham City captain and Irish star Louise Quinn reiterates with a little smile, it also “turns up the notch of pressure.”

“The support on and off the pitch now has just been incredible. Everything from the association to sponsors, people are really believing in us and then it is up to us then to back it up” she says. “They want performances and they want us to do well, but we’re trying to be professional athletes so we have to take that pressure.”

 

The bar now firmly set, the centre back is determined that standards will not “slip” and that the “even keel” treatment they are now receiving is to remain the status quo, if not a jump board for increased improvement.

 

“It’s not about the money, it’s just literally the parity and it’s at all levels,” reiterated Quinn. “There’d be no chance for them to think that it could be taken away. It’s only going to be better for the future coming through,” she continued.

 

“Everyone in women’s football is building something right now. and we want to really push that forward, especially in Irish football. We try to be role models, try to get people in love with football and in love with the Irish team, supporting their nation.”

“The support on and off the pitch now has just been incredible. Everything from the association to sponsors, people are really believing in us and then it is up to us then to back it up” she says. “They want performances and they want us to do well, but we’re trying to be professional athletes so we have to take that pressure.”

 

The bar now firmly set, the centre back is determined that standards will not “slip” and that the “even keel” treatment they are now receiving is to remain the status quo, if not a jump board for increased improvement.

 

“It’s not about the money, it’s just literally the parity and it’s at all levels,” reiterated Quinn. “There’d be no chance for them to think that it could be taken away. It’s only going to be better for the future coming through,” she continued.

 

“Everyone in women’s football is building something right now. and we want to really push that forward, especially in Irish football. We try to be role models, try to get people in love with football and in love with the Irish team, supporting their nation.”

On the pitch, Quinn is hopeful the outfit have “learned from past mistakes”, as they attempt to qualify for the World Cup. The crash out of the Euros is still fresh, they “don’t want to feel that hurt again.”

 

“The support on and off the pitch now has just been incredible. You need so many elements to make a team successful, but obviously having the confidence and the backing of your association and the sponsor Sky is huge. They’re backing us and now we’ve really got to back ourselves.”

 

Ireland have yet to qualify for a major international tournament, but the squad is getting closer and closer.

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