Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

We wanted to end Republic of Ireland's World Cup USA dream: Jimmy Quinn

Stuck in: Northern Ireland's Gerry Taggart comes up against John Aldridge of the Republic
Stuck in: Northern Ireland's Gerry Taggart comes up against John Aldridge of the Republic

Twenty years on, Jimmy Quinn has lifted the lid on the two big factors that motivated Northern Ireland ahead of the famous World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in November 1993.

Ensuring that Billy Bingham ended his remarkable managerial career as a winner was one of the reasons why Quinn and his team mates wanted a victory.

And the man who scored the goal in the 1-1 draw at Windsor Park has revealed that stopping their neighbours from qualifying for the World Cup in the United States the following summer played a big part too.

Republic manager Jack Charlton accused Bingham of having his team too highly motivated and that they were trying too hard.

Quinn unashamedly admits that the former World Cup winner's opinion was right.

"It was a massive game for both teams – the Republic needed a result to get to the World Cup finals and we didn't want to lose to them," said Quinn.

"It was Billy Bingham's last game as manager of Northern Ireland and he'd brought all of the players in that squad through to the senior team.

"We'd done quite well at that time and got a few good results, but the last thing that we wanted to do was lose at Windsor Park in his last game as manager – particularly as he had done so much for us as players and for the country.

"We were nervous – people think that as professionals you don't feel the pressure – but there was a bit of tension in the dressing room.

"I think Alan McDonald smoked a full packet of 20 cigarettes before the game because he kept disappearing into the toilets."

Quinn's goal after 73 minutes – which came the day before his 34th birthday – had the Republic fearing that they were going to have to watch the World Cup on television rather than being part of it.

Alan McLoughlin's equaliser just five minutes later was enough to book their trip across the Atlantic.

"Stopping them going to the World Cup was part of the motivation too. If roles had been reversed they wouldn't have been doing us any favours – I have no doubt about that.

"You play the game to win and we wanted to win the game. When you're playing for your country that's all you are focused on."

There were still some celebrations for the Northern Ireland players and fans alike.

"We went into Belfast after the game and we didn't have to buy a drink – there was champagne flowing everywhere."