Niall Quinn: ‘Who are the FAI trying to fool?’

Former international trying to build pathway for Irish players through the domestic game

The public conversation Niall Quinn has been driving began following an invitation before Christmas to the PFAI awards night in Dublin. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The public conversation Niall Quinn has been driving began following an invitation before Christmas to the PFAI awards night in Dublin. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Niall Quinn has a story from 1983 about a knock on the door at his house on Hillsbrook Drive in Crumlin. When Quinn answered there were two men standing in front of him: Jim McLaughlin and Noel King, manager and coach of Shamrock Rovers. They were interested in the 16-year-old’s future and whether he would like to spend a season or two of it at Milltown.

Quinn was already destined for Arsenal by then. But he had been going to Rovers to watch League of Ireland games, enjoyed doing so and was keen to finish his Leaving Cert. His mother, Mary, a teacher, also wanted him to stay to complete his education.

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