Belfast Telegraph

Contrasting tales of joy and pain for Northern Ireland's 'Quinn' boys

By Paul Ferguson

There have been contrasting fortunes for Northern Ireland players named James Quinn down the years against Romania.

Both strikers, both scorers of fantastic goals for Northern Ireland but two players with two very different memories of playing against The Tricolorii.

One the hero, the other, a villain. In 1985, Rathcoole-born Jimmy Quinn was the Northern Ireland match winner in a vitally important World Cup qualifier  in Bucharest.

Romania, with a 20-year-old Gheorghe Hagi on board, hadn’t been beaten at home in nine games. But Quinn’s 28th minute goal sealed victory and helped secure Northern Ireland’s passage to Mexico and the World Cup Finals in 1986.

Fast forward 21 years from that fantastic win in the Romanian capital to Chicago, Illinois and the famous Soldier Field Stadium.

In hot and humid conditions, a vastly understrength Northern Ireland side, then managed by Lawrie Sanchez, lost 2-0 to a Romania side that included former Chelsea bad boy Adrian Mutu.

It was a friendly match, the second game in a two-match tour of the USA. Sammy Clingan and Kyle Lafferty were playing in just their second internationals, having made their debuts a few days earlier in New Jersey.

Steven Davis, during his first stint as skipper, was Northern Ireland’s youngest ever captain and Gareth McAuley was trying to cement his place in the team, even if it was at right back.

But the game, from a Northern Ireland perspective, will always be remembered for James Quinn’s first half sending off.

The Peterborough striker was shown a straight red card in the 38th minute by American referee Michael Kennedy for a late tackle on Romania’s Dorin Goian.

Sanchez described the sending off as ‘harsh’ while a clearly emotional Quinn left the stadium close to tears.  A complete range of emotions for the two Northern Ireland players named James Quinn.

Belfast Telegraph