Niall Quinn programme article - by Jamie Megarry

Posted : 10th August 2016

Linfield defender Niall Quinn spoke to ‘Look at Linfield’ after Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Ballinamallard. It was a tightly contested encounter in which goals from Stephen Lowry and Kirk Millar inspired Linfield to victory in the Blues’ opening game of the 2016/17 Danske Bank NIFL Premiership campaign. Quinn played the full 90 minutes, starting the game on the left side of a back three, before slotting into his natural left-back and more accustomed role in a back four.

“I thought our win against Ballinamallard on Saturday was hard fought for and we had to really dig in deep to get the three points. It took two very good goals from ourselves to see out a vital victory on the opening day."

It was an enjoyable game for the cultured defender to be involved in, in front of a large travelling Linfield support in County Fermanagh.

"I'm enjoying getting game time and that's the main thing, whether that's playing as left-back in a back four or as the left-sided centre-back of a back three. It's much different playing with three at the back, as it's quite new to me but when done right, it can very effective and I'm really enjoying my football at the moment.”

Since making his first team debut against Glentoran in April 2012, Niall has been a regular in the team for the most part, scoring six goals for the club in 113 appearances to date but found himself behind fellow left-back Matthew Clarke in the pecking order at the club last season. However, the recently-turned 23 year-old accepts there are always quality players keeping each other on their toes at Windsor Park.

“I feel we've made some excellent signings this year, whether it's with the experienced ones or the young players. They certainly add to the competition for places which there has always been at Linfield and can have nothing but a positive effect on the squad” said the Glengormley man who has 11 months remaining on his existing contract.

Quinn says David Healy’s players have worked hard since coming back after their summer break with the aim of being as fully fit as possible early in the season and he believes the Blues were very unfortunate to go out of the Europa League to Cork City in July.

“Pre-season has been tough this year. We've definitely focused more on our fitness this year than in previous years. The European games came very quick and we played an excellent Cork team. I thought we were unfortunate not to get anything from the home leg, as I feel we played very well. The same can be said of the second leg, even though we came away with a draw. It was harsh to get eliminated by two penalties over the two legs but unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be.”

Niall joined the club through the Academy pathway in 2009 and has progressed very well as a player but he is always striving to improve and is hungry for more success, having only won a County Antrim Shield winners' medal, since making the breakthrough to the first team.

“My personal ambition for this year is to win trophies. It's what I came to Linfield for and I haven't been as successful as I would have liked. Holding down a starting place this year is also what I'm looking to do, as I was in and out of the team last year” added Quinn.

The Linfield Academy graduate expects another tough battle tonight against former Blues' star and now Bannsiders manager Oran Kearney’s team, who have recently signalled their intent by signing midfielder David Kee on a season long loan from Linfield.

“I wouldn't say I can recall a particularly favourite game against Coleraine from the past but they've always been really tough to play against, as Oran has brought together an excellent squad, so we will have to work very hard to get the three points tonight at Windsor.”

Linfield supporters at tonight's game will be hoping that Niall and his team mates can build on Saturday's promising start to the new league campaign ahead of a tasty and tough trip to Seaview on Saturday.
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