Jamie Megarry of Linfieldfc.com caught up with defender Niall Quinn last night after he came off the bench to make his 350th appearance for the Blues in their 1-0 win over Crusaders at Seaview in the County Antrim Shield.
“I was delighted to reach the milestone. It would have been nice to get a start, of course, but 350 appearances is a great achievement for me and I hope there will be plenty more to follow this season.
“For it to come at Seaview is interesting because I’ve had some good memories at the ground. Looking back, I’ve scored a few memorable goals there, including a direct corner which fortuitously went all the way in, last year. There was also an Irish Cup goal for me here at the Quarter Final stage in the memorable 2016/17 season when, late in the match, Jamie Mulgrew set me up to seal an important 2-0 win at the time. Of course, making my 350th appearance is another one to add to that list.”
The left back – who came through the Linfield Academy and made his First Team debut in 2012 – is hungry for more action but understands he might have to be patient.
“Injuries hampered me last season and again at the start of this season but I am fully fit now. I am trying to break into the starting eleven which will be difficult, but I’ll back myself fully and see where it goes. Whenever I get my opportunity, it’ll be vital that I grasp it. The competition for places is great. In my case, Matthew Clarke has been in great form and he’s a great player, no bones about it.”
Niall has seen a lot of highs and lows as a Linfield player in the past decade and he believes there’s a real hunger amongst the Blues’ squad to be successful again this season.
“A lot of players in the squad have lots of league titles and Irish Cup medals to our names, and every single one of us are very hungry to go and add to that. We want to win every competition we enter and that was proven by the strength of the team fielded against Crusaders in the County Antrim Shield. We weren’t taking the match or the competition lightly at all, and we’ll do that for every other competition we’re in.”
With attention now swiftly turning towards Saturday’s home league match against Glenavon at Windsor Park, the 29 year-old is hopeful the Blues can continue to build in their two recent victories.
“It was very important that we bounced back immediately after the Carrick Rangers defeat. There was no hangover, Carrick just caught us on an off-day. That’s now two wins on the bounce since then. Ballymena last weekend was important and Crusaders was just as important because we want to build momentum. We will go into the Glenavon game hopefully with the same attitude.
“We won’t be taking Glenavon lightly. You don’t know what they’ll come out with, so they could very easily catch us out. We know we need to perform, as they’ve a lot of very good and experienced players, a number of whom I’ve shared a dressing room with at Linfield in the past.”
Congratulations to Niall on reaching the milestone of 350 Linfield appearances and hopefully, many more will follow for the classy full-back.