Linfield favourite Niall Quinn wants to make it a season to remember — on two fronts.
The 28-year-old is determined to help David Healy’s side lift the Danske Bank Premiership title for the fifth successive season, which would make his Testimonial Year that extra bit special.
Handed his debut by former boss David Jeffrey back in a 2-0 win over Glentoran on April 20, 2012, Quinn has become an integral cog in a Linfield side since that introduction.
“I arrived in a changing room full of big personalities and characters — Scotty (Steven) Douglas, Winkie Murphy, Michael Gault and Jim Ervin,” recalls Quinn. “There was a lot of boys with bags of experience.
“I certainly learnt a lot from them. When I came into the team, Winkie played alongside me and he helped me a lot. He talked me through games.
“Our current skipper Jamie Mulgrew, who was a lot younger then, was also in that side and he really looked after me. He kept me on my toes. It’s incredible to think Jamie is still turning in top class performances. He has played at such a high standard for an incredible number of seasons.
“He has maintained that consistency, even though he is now 36. The goal big goal he came up with against TNS was simply unbelievable — I never seen him hit one like that before, not even in training.”
Having endured a horrible time in terms on injury last season, Quinn is hoping to make an impact when the ball rolls again this term.
“I had quite a few injury problems, it was frustrating,” he adds. “I struggled quite a bit with my two Achilles and then Covid and illness kicked in. It all combined in making it a season to forget.
“Thankfully, I’m back to full fitness. I got a full pre-season behind me. That was the problem last season, I was start-stop in the pre-season and couldn’t really get my fitness up to speed. I now intend to work myself back into the team. It’s probably easier said than done the way the boys are playing.”
Being a keen Celtic fan, Quinn admits it would be his dream to have a Testimonial game against the Scottish giants, but he knows it wouldn’t be possible.
“I think that would be pushing the boat out,” he laughs. “I would have loved it to happen but, because of the security aspect, there is no chance.
“It’s something to look forward to, it will keep my busy this season, but my ultimate goal is to play more games, enjoy my season more than I did last year and make sure the League title remains at Windsor Park.”