6 things we learned from Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn ’s 1st podcast

6 things we learned from Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn ’s 1st podcast
Alanna Cunnane
Alanna Cunnane

Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn ’s first podcast dropped yesterday, encapsulating their friendship and quick-witted nature in an easily digestible format, while also shedding light on their insider secrets into the reality behind women’s football.

The Irish duo have linked up with 90minFootball to launch the ‘Life's a Pitch’ show, which is set to come out on a biweekly basis.

Here’s six things we learned from their first episode.

1. Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn react to McCabe’s Ballon D'or nomination


Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn ’s first promotional video for their podcast featured the two talking about Ireland captain Katie McCabe’s Ballon D'or nomination.


Littlejohn jokingly feigned that she was getting up to walk out of the studio when Quinn broached the topic of her former partner’s award recognition, before sitting back down again to discuss the gravity of the situation.

“There was a cake that was made for our Katie McCabe Ballon D'or nominee…It was brought out at the end of the dinner on the last dinner of camp and I said, sorry, excuse me, myself and Saoirse have actually been nominated for Women’s Championship Player of the Month, so where’s my cake?” Quinn quipped, before seriously reflecting on the moment.

“It is an unbelievable achievement that a young, messer of a kid has achieved something like that. Obviously, as part of the team, it’s just great to see,” she says.

“Obviously she’s off at Arsenal now doing unbelievable things. You have to have individual and also team recognition for us now because we deserve it, so I’m glad to see that it wasn’t all politics, because she deserves it.”

Littlejohn also supplemented that acclaim, talking about how McCabe’s Ballon D'or appreciation “is great for Ireland.”

“She’s moved away young, at 19, 20. Goes to Arsenal, it’s not been an easy ride, but she goes away, has her time at Glasgow City, comes back, gets back in the Arsenal team and then becomes a dominant player for their team,” she says.

“It’s great to have that in the Irish squad because people can look up to her now.

“People can look up to Katie, Denise.. you, me, they don’t, but anyways” she jokes.

“It’s great to see people now getting recognition, it’s putting Ireland on the map.”

2.The ‘what could of been’ from the World Cup still looms large for Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn

112 days on from the first game of the Australia and New Zealand World Cup, in which they were both involved, the hurt of not making it further in the tournament still lingers for Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn.

That said, outside of the beautiful ‘bin chickens’, there were some poignant moments which have stuck with them from the experience, namely the rewarding times it gave their families.

“It was class, but if you’d have asked me that straight away, I think I would have been a bit more bitter about going out. I think we could have done a little bit more and obviously I still do think that,” says Quinn.

“When I sit back and think about it...we were just chilling in Australia, swimming in the pool, playing in front of 70,000 people. Yeah, unreal for me” she adds.

Littlejohn too felt the same, explaining that “it’s still a bit raw”, but that two distinct recollections stand out for her.

“The Canada game, the anthem, that was special, and then the roar after we got in the huddle that was fantastic,” she says.

“Then after the Nigeria game, I was clapping and I caught my dad in the crowd. We had a kind of [points to her eyes and then in front of her]... and then I got a wee bit emosh.

“That was quite nice because he took me to football since i was a kid, he drove me all over the world, the world, kid on. He flew all over the world to see me and he obviously came all the way out to Australia with his brother.

“It was kind of like a nice moment because it was like I’m repaying you for all of the help and how much you looked after me during my football career. So that was special.”

That said, the pair also shared that they are left somewhat “traumatised” by the pre tournament build up, unsure of whether they would be selected for the squad given they were left out of the USA camp prior to the team announcement.

“That whole day of us just all waiting was probably the most difficult,” Quinn says.

“The stress of it. That was 15 years of work, if you think about it, all of the times you’ve run, cried, sweat, obviously this massive two year build up through the qualification.

“And then we might not have been going, but we did go” Littlejohn chimes in.

“We did go” Quinn responds, revealing that they had a celebratory Nando’s at the time in recognition of the achievement.

3. Quinn won’t live down being the first woman to score at the Aviva, in more ways than one.

Quinn made history on Saturday the 23rd of September 2023 at the Irish WNT’s inaugural appearance at the Aviva Stadium, becoming the first woman to score during an international fixture there.

And she won’t be let forget it if Littlejohn has anything to do with it!

“It’s awkward that you were the first Irish goal-scorer at the Aviva but you’re English,” she jokes.

“I’m not” Quinn replies, “I’m dual nationality” she adds.

“The first ever female international game at the Aviva [points to herself], first ever goal-scorer, victory over Northern Ireland. It caused a lot of issues in my household, if you know you know,” Quinn jests, referencing her relationship with Northern Ireland defender Rebecca Holloway.

Scheduled to play the return Girls in Green derby at Windsor Park come December the 5th, Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn go on to joke that there could be more history to be made there yet for Quinn.

4. The World Cup comedown is real

Both Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn had very little rest time after the World Cup and before the start of the Championship season, adding to the post tournament blues.

Quinn, who plays for Birmingham City, describes how the contrast between life down under the reality back at home took some time to re-adjust to.

“We had nine days off, and I was ill the whole time. I think it was going from the World Cup, travelling, the adrenaline of it all and the pre camp was so stressful, so, so emotionally draining,” she says.

“I sat down to eat my dinner and it was quiet, there weren’t 24/25 other girls there. You weren’t there chatting rubbish and making me laugh, so the comedown really hit me hard.

“I think people just underestimate the comedown, and I get it now. You see the rise and fall of people. Obviously we went from A list celebrities, everywhere we went security, autographs, pictures and then I walked outside my front door, no one there.

“I couldn’t open my front door with 10 weeks of post! And I thought who’s going to do my washing, who’s going to hoover, who’s going to cook.”

Littlejohn too was well versed in the shock to the system that circumstance can bring about.

“I didn’t realise at the time, but now looking back it’s like you know what you come back from that tournament, you’re playing in front of crowds, good pitches, you’re in with the girls and everything is like elite, top level.

“I ended up then signing for a championship team, which is no disrespect, but basically rocked up to training on the Tuesday and the season started on the Sunday.

“I was just a bit like, what’s going on?"

That acclimation period did settle after a while however, and now sees a renewed excitement to produce on the pitch, perhaps even more than ever for the injured Littlejohn, who now plays for London City Lionesses.

“I’m like looking forward to being back on the pitch. I’m looking forward to losing small sided games and being angry, or winning small sided and being like ‘hahaha, unlucky!’. I’m looking forward to all of that again,” she says.

5. The reality of the rain in Albania

The wet conditions during Ireland’s recent clash versus Albania were among the worst many had ever seen, with a 90 minute delay between the first and second half.

That incident was one that saw Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn award one of their red card’s of the week to on this occasion, with the Birmingham City attacker bringing listeners behind the curtain, or behind the dressing room door, into what was genuinely happening in the background.

“Everybody’s washed their hair, got into tracksuits, thinking there’s no way we’re playing this game, we’re literally in the middle of a monsoon,” she says.

“Some of us are trying to keep warm, on the bands, kicking a football around…then they come back in. They say, ‘by the way, they’ve cleared the pitch, get your kit back on, you’ve got eight minutes to warm up and then we’re going’.

“So the girls have got clean hair, in their tracksuits, they’ve to start putting their soaking wet socks back on. We have an eight minute warm up, very rushed, go on to play the second half, very frustrating, but thank god for Denise O’Sullivan, come away with a goal and three points.”

6. A new nickname for Katie McCabe?

Ruesha Littlejohn and Lucy Quinn also brought to attention that there may be a new nickname for the Arsenal star McCabe.

Far from her on field exploits, McCabe’s dealings with fans have become a slice of cake, and quite literally so if you ask the supporters in Albania it seems.

“”We were getting on the bus from outside the hotel and we were going to go to the stadium for the game. Most people must have already been on the bus, must have been local Albanian girls outside wanting autographs,” began Quinn.

“So obviously I signed it, they didn't know who I was or whatever. She says to me, ‘oh please, please, can you please get her, I really want an autograph from Katie McBake’. So I said I’ll check,” she laughs.

“I said she’s actually got a souffle in the oven but I’ll check if she’s available.

“I went on the bus and I said oh they’re looking for Katie McBake, anyone? Ballon D'or? So then for the rest of the trip she’s been Katie McBake.

“That could be something, she might want to trademark, copyright it. So yeah, Katie McBake, 22, in the world.”

An extraordinary blend of insider knowledge and entertaining takes, there’s no doubt the subsequent podcast episodes with Ruesha Littlejohn & Lucy Quinn will serve up some unmissable sweet content.


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