Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn confident they can shut down Sam Kerr

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Republic Of Ireland Defender Louise Quinn Confident They Can Shut Down Sam Kerr
Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn is confident in her side's ability to shut down Australia's Sam Kerr (, Š PA Wire/PA Images
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By Rachel Steinberg, PA, in Queensland

Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn is confident the Girls in Green have a plan in place to shut down prolific Australia striker Sam Kerr when they face the hosts in their World Cup opener.

Quinn’s side, after all, have done it before, spoiling the Chelsea forward’s 100th appearance for the Matildas with a 3-2 victory when they met for the first time in history at Tallaght Stadium in September 2021.

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Dublin native Quinn powered in a second-half header to break the deadlock and memorably hand the Republic their biggest win over a higher-ranked opponent in over two decades.

“It’s rare but I felt like I got one up on her with the Irish team in Tallaght and that is something that I will carry forward with me,” said Quinn, speaking during a team training session at Brisbane’s Meakin Park.

Quinn (left) Kerr (right) have also encountered each other in the Women's Super League
Birmingham City’s Quinn (left ) and Chelsea’s Kerr (right) have also encountered each other in the Women’s Super League (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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“But she’s very impressive, she’s very strong, easily one of the best strikers in the world now. For me, you concentrate on the whole thing but I definitely have an individual battle on my hands that is essentially what I want.

“What I want to so is to not let her score essentially. Keep her out of the game. She really creates moments out of nothing but it has to be 100 per cent for the 90 minutes.

“Yeah, she runs off the back shoulders a lot. She is so nippy that she can come around the front and come off your blindside and make runs in behind. I can’t wait for the challenge to be honest, this is what you play for, to play against the very best in the world. And she is one of the best.

“We’ve proved before against Australia that we can put something up against her and she was on the pitch that day and had her chances.”

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Matildas captain Kerr, Australia’s top goal-scorer of either gender with 63 from 121 caps, was named the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Women’s Footballer of the Year for a second straight season after a 2022/23 campaign that saw her score 17 goals and pick up six assists across the Women’s Super League and Champions League.

She was largely shut down at Tallaght, where Mary Fowler netted two to keep Australia in a game Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson would later tell media he felt was “some kind of record” for the number of technical mistakes he observed in his side.

They will have to do better to impress the 80,000-plus crowd who have sold out Sydney’s Stadium Australia on Thursday night, the second contest on a two-match opening day beginning with co-hosts New Zealand’s meeting with Norway in Auckland.

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Sunday was a recovery day for the Republic, who are hoping midfielder Denise O’Sullivan will be fit in time for the biggest day in team history after she was injured in their aborted friendly with Colombia.

An initial X-ray and CT scan encouragingly showed no fracture to O’Sullivan’s shin, and she will be assessed again on Monday afternoon.

Quinn’s name will forever go down in history as one of 23 selected to represent her country in their first World Cup. It is an astonishing accomplishment that has struck her sharply and sporadically, often when she has least expected it.

She said:  “I had a really random one after the Zambia game and we had a weekend off.

Quinn said the reality of her World Cup debut has struck when she has least expected
Quinn said the reality of her World Cup debut has struck when she has least expected (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I was just chatting to my girlfriend about something, and I was saying ‘I’ll do that after I get back from the World Cup.’ And I actually stopped for a second and realised that yes, I am going to a World Cup.

“And I had to stop for a moment. I got emotional. Because we’ve been talking about this all along but now it’s really confirmed. It hit me. We were just getting the dinner ready and chatting, ‘We’ll do this after the World Cup. It was really bizarre, a really emotional moment and I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

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