McQuillan Brings Professional Experience To Women’s Soccer

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“I’ve got big boots to fill, but it’s exciting,” Central Connecticut starting goalkeeper Amanda McQuillian said.

The Blue Devils’ sophomore  McQuillan perfectly summed up her role on this year’s team. In her first year playing for Central Connecticut, McQuillan has the impossible task of replacing Ashley Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh led the Blue Devils to an NEC Championship on the back of 11 shutouts, a Central Connecticut record.

But there’s a new face roaming the crease for the Blue Devils this year and she’s got  plenty of experience of her own to bring to the table.

McQuillan came to Central after a more than accomplished career in her native Ireland. She began her professional career in 2014, signing to Raheny United, which later merged to become Shelborne FC. The goalkeeper continued to play for the club in the rest of her time in Ireland, last appearing in July, where she allowed one goal over a two game stretch.

In 2017, McQuillan was called up to the Republic of Ireland’s Under-19 team for Championship Qualifiers of the United European Football Association. After all of her accomplishments overseas, McQuillan was ready to “move on from the league I was playing in.” McQuillan explains that she had already “won everything that you could win in Ireland and needed new challenges.”

McQuillan has excelled in all of the challenges she’s faced thus far for the Blue Devils. The goalkeeper took home the Northeast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week honors in just the first week of the season. This came after an impressive first showing in the goal against No. 19 Rutgers, where McQuillan totaled nine saves against the potent offense, which is so far a season high.

The Irish connection is strong on this year’s Blue Devil team, with head coach Mick D’Arcy and fellow sophomore Roma McLaughlin also hailing from Ireland. “It’s a really nice feeling,” McQuillan explained, “I feel at home here.”

As for any goals in her first season, they remain simple, help the team repeat as NEC Champions.

“[This season] is really exciting to look forward to.” McQuillan said. “We’ve got a really great team, and we’ve got a good chance to go out there and prove ourselves.”

McQuillan and the team will be able to prove themselves soon, as they get their first taste of conference play September 20 against Bryant on the road.