In a World Cup of new voices and faces, Louise Quinn has been outstanding
How great it would have been to see the likes of Quinn, Campbell and Roche all in footballing action at the World Cup.
Instead, after Ireland's qualification campaign fell just short, we have had to content ourselves with the insights and opinions of Louise Quinn, Megan Campbell and Stephanie Roche as pundits.
RTE and TG4 have treated us to every game of the Women's World Cup and, as Roche told us before the tournament, we are now into the good stuff.
The group stages saw some tonkings handed out and some awful gaffes, but the standard of football has been excellent ever since we reached the last 16.
Players such as Amandine Henry, Megan Rapinoe, Sam Kerr, Lucy Bronze and Rose Lavelle have all been superb to watch. Alyssa Naeher and Sari van Veenendaal are duking it out for best goalkeeper. Alex Morgan and Ellen White have both proved lethal finishers and frontline nuisances while no defence has yet figured out how to contain Wendie Renard at set-pieces.
Over on RTE, viewers have been treated to a host of new faces and voices to spend the tournament with. Lisa Fallon and Ruth Fahy have been on commentary/analysis duty while Quinn, Roche, Campbell, Aine O'Gorman, Niamh Fahey, and Emma Byrne have joined hosts Darragh Maloney, Peter Collins and Jacqui Hurley and established pundits Richie Sadlier and Kevin Doyle in studio.
Roche and Byrne have both had their moments - neither are shy to voice an opinion - and Campbell came to the fore with her take on Mille Bright's red card in the England semi-final defeat to the USA.
The outstanding pundit from the RTE panel, though, has been Quinn. The Arsenal and Ireland defender has been assured, empathetic, cutting when she needs to be, a great turn of the phrase ['wrecked tired', 'cut me some slack'] and can clearly explain what goes through the heads of the top players in pressure situations.
On issues such as Video Assistant Referee fiascos, harsh penalty calls and big tactical calls in the knock-out stages, Quinn has argued her point well and in an entertaining manner.
On VAR, after Ellen White had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, Quinn showed, as a current player, how she was conflicted about technology interrupting the flow of games and clinically eliminating the benefit of the doubt.
"As a defender, I should be in favour of VAR because these things are going to be called in my favour, but when you are a fan and when you're watching it, it is so hard to take and so harsh."
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 2, 2019
Earlier in the tournament, after Germany had made it two wins from two and recorded their second clean sheet, Quinn predicted the two-time champions would struggle if they did not get their defence sorted.
"Who is that leader in the backline?" she asked. "I don't know. I couldn't see it today.
"You always need that one commanding player. I know the goalkeeper has something like 60 caps and has a bit of experience, but you need at least one of those defenders to take control of those situations. You'd see a couple of times that when the ball was coming centrally to them, no-one was making a real decision."
The Germans would win with another clean sheet in the following game, and top their group. They even defeated Nigeria 3-0 in the Last 16 but, sure enough, they were exposed at the back by a better attacking outfit, in Sweden, and knocked out in the quarter-finals.
And there have been moments of humour and self-depreciation too. Ahead of one Brazil game, she said of the legendary Marta:
"I got in hard on one tackle on her and, in Swedish, she still managed to call me a tall loser!"
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 13, 2019
You can also see when Louise Quinn talks, the respect she commands from her fellow pundits and whoever is in the presenter's chair for certain games. She has played international football for over a decade and is part of a cracking Arsenal team.
She has been there and done it but has the ability to articulate herself well, get her point across and hold her ground on certain issues, if needs be.
It is a shame that we will not get to see the trio of Quinn, Campbell and Roche on World Cup final duty - Darragh Maloney will host with Sadlier, Fallon and Byrne as pundits for the USA versus The Netherlands - but they have done themselves proud this past month.
One hopes RTE keeps their contact details handy for future coverage of women's and men's football.
If you do want to enjoy the World Cup in the company of Louise Quinn and Megan Campbell, they will join host Jenny Murphy and Aine O'Gorman at our PlayXPlay World Cup final event at Tramline, from 2:45 pm on Sunday, July 7.
Round up your team-mates and come watch the Women’s World Cup final with @jennymurphy045 and a stellar panel.
P.S. FREE PIZZA. ??
— Her.ie (@Herdotie) July 3, 2019
More of the same insight and analyse from Campbell, Quinn and O'Gorman and all in attendance should be in for a treat.