Monday 20 November 2017

Quinn's Wembley joy tinged with sadness for beloved Blades

Stephen Quinn of Hull City heads in their fourth goal during match between Hull City and Sheffield United
Stephen Quinn of Hull City heads in their fourth goal during match between Hull City and Sheffield United
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

STEPHEN QUINN erased some Wembley heartbreak from his memory with a crucial goal for Hull in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final victory, but the identity of the opposition left him with mixed emotions.

The Dubliner came off the bench to strike against his first English club Sheffield United, his home for seven seasons, in a dramatic 5-3 win.

Quinn visited Wembley twice as a United player, losing the 2009 Championship play-off final to Burnley and the 2012 League One equivalent to Huddersfield.

So while he was overjoyed on a personal level, he wished that victory had come against another opponent.

"I didn't want to come down here for a third time and have another loss and I know it's not nice travelling back up the road now," said Quinn.

"I know how they (Sheffield United) are feeling now. I've been down to watch them and cheering them on in every round of the cup. I was jumping around the house when they scored in the last minute against Fulham.

"I love the club and will keep supporting them this year and next. I feel sorry for them but it's my job to play football and try and help the club I'm with.

"The question was posed to me during the week – would I celebrate? – and I said no, I've too much respect for a big club that helped me grow as a player and looked after me and my family for a number of years.

"It just had to happen really, it's written in the stars. It was a weird day, a weird week. I'd have loved to start the game but coming on and scoring, you dream about it as a kid... but to do it against Sheffield United?

"It's a strange one, but I'm really happy to score a goal at Wembley and get to the final."

Overall, it has proved to be a frustrating campaign for the 28-year-old, who was looking forward to a proper crack at the Premier League having previously experienced it as a youngster with the Blades.

Unfortunately, an injury in pre-season set him back and a further setback kept him sidelined between the start of November and the beginning of January.

The combination of those absences allowed others to thrive and Quinn has been restricted to a total of 19 appearances in all competitions, with only two Premier League starts in that tally.

He did make a recent substitute appearance for Ireland in their friendly loss to Serbia, but the versatile midfielder is down the pecking order with his club, whereas David Meyler – another scorer on Sunday – has thrived.

The cup has afforded opportunities to squad players, however, especially with big January signings Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic cup-tied, which has led to a reshuffle.

Quinn thinks that the key to final success over Arsenal could be taking a leaf from his former employers' book.

"They (Arsenal) didn't look great on Saturday, we'll have to do what Sheffield United did to us, set up a good stall and try and beat them because nobody is invincible at the minute," he said.

"We deserved our win, we've held our own in the Premier League and we've had some good results and a good cup run. It could turn out to be a tremendous year if we finish it strong."

The success gives another Irishman, Robbie Brady, a focus for his recovery from injury.

He was part of the Hull celebrations on Sunday and said last week that his rehab is ahead of schedule, meaning he has an outside chance of figuring in the decider on Saturday, May 17.

Irish Independent

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