Fired-up Quinn is courting glory with Star after a full campaign of injury misery
Aidan Quinn's nightmare is finally over and the talented 24-year-old is ready to play his part in Belfast Star's charge for glory this season.
This time last year, Quinn was preparing for the start of the All-Ireland Superleague after a fine pre-season when a shocking incident left him on the sidelines. Following surgery to a broken right wrist, he only returned to the court two months ago.
Despite the short run-in to the start of this year's Superleague campaign, Quinn nevertheless played a key role in Star's stunning over-time victory over last year's Champions Trophy winners Templeogue last Saturday.
Quinn's twin brother Conor has also suffered from injury and he will not be back in a Star shirt until around Christmas, but Aidan believes the club have the ingredients to mount a serious challenge for silverware.
"It's great to be back. I have to admit that having not played a Superleague game for a year I was a bit nervous at the start of the game against Templeogue but then I hit a three-pointer with my first shot and that settled me down," said Quinn, who travelled to virtually every game with Star during last season.
"Last year was really hard for me because the club really got going again under coaches Adrian Fulton and Javan Dupree.
"We were going into the start of the Superleague after a great pre-season and then on the Tuesday night before the first game I was out with my brother Sean and we suddenly got jumped by a few lads as we came out of a Chinese restaurant. We managed to get away but in the middle of it I fell to the ground and wrecked my wrist.
"The next morning it was quite clear I had a problem. Initially they put a cast on it and thought that would be enough but then it became clear that I would need surgery. The surgeon, who has also carried out the work on my brother Conor, has done a great job and I'm very thankful to be back playing.
"I haven't spoken about it before but I feel it's worth speaking about as a reminder for other young sportspeople to be careful when they're out."
Quinn, who works at Bogart Menswear in Belfast having graduated from Ulster University at Jordanstown with a business management degree, is relishing the season ahead on the back of Star's victory over Templeogue in which he believes they demonstrated the grit needed to challenge the top sides.
That will be further tested this weekend when Star travel to champions Tralee.
"I think the chemistry in the team is looking very good and that is going to be crucial. Even when we were down by six points with a minute remaining, you could still feel that we had a deep belief we could get the win," added Quinn.
"We showed a lot of resilience, there was no sense of our heads dropping and there were so many of the guys who came up with big plays at crucial moments. Our American Delaney Blaylock had a big basket to tie up the game, CJ Fulton hit a massive three and Keelan Cairns had a couple of huge baskets in overtime.
"Delaney and our new Serbian DJ Stankovic are two top players and I believe we have what it takes to take on the best."