Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

5th Jun 2009
Niall Quinn is one of the most recognised men in Ireland after an illustrious 16-year international career that saw him become Ireland's record goal scorer with 21 goals in 92 appearances.

The striker was accomplished in a number of codes at a young age and was a member of the Dublin minor hurling side that played in the All-Ireland final in 1984. He was also considered a bright Australian Rules prospect and was offered a big money contract down under.

However, it was football that Quinn made his vocation (though the Aussie Rules offers kept coming even after he moved to England), and after failing to earn a contract at Fulham, he was rated highly enough by Arsenal to pack his bags for London in 1984.

He was a regular in the Ireland squad since making his debut in 1986 against Iceland, though not always the team. He was a member of the squad that travelled to the European Championships in 1988.

He was part of the Arsenal squad that won the League title in 1989, but early in 1990, he moved to Manchester City for Stg900,000 and a great scoring end of the season helped City survive and also book his place in the Ireland squad for the 1990 World Cup.

Quinn wrote his name in the history books in Italy as, after starting the tournament on the bench, he earned a place in the starting XI and scored the equaliser against Holland that ensured Ireland's progress to the second phase to the competition.

Things continued to improve for Quinn both at club and international level, but having helped Ireland to their second successive World Cup, he picked up a cruciate knee injury which ruled him out of the competition.

He returned to the international side after the World Cup, as Ireland missed out on qualification of the European Championships in 1996, but at Manchester City, he found himself out of favour and it came as no surprise that he moved on to Sunderland for a Stg1 million fee.

His time on Wearside started badly as he was struck by another cruciate knee injury, but after recovering he because a favourite at the Stadium of Light as he formed a deadly partnership with Kevin Philips while at international level, he did the same with Robbie Keane helping Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals.

The latter stages of his career were dogged by injury, though he still played an important part at the World Cup in Japan and Korea helping Ireland to the second round as he made some notable contributions coming on as substitute during the finals. He retired from international football immediately after the World Cup and in November 2002, he was forced to retire from club football also because of his injury problems.

Away from football, Quinn has made a name for himself as a race horse owner and also because of his generous work for charity. In 2002, he donated all the proceeds from his testimonial to children's hospitals in Sunderland and Dublin.