"No not really. In those days we probably thought more of our own provincial championship than we did about the Heineken. It was early days and there were plenty of those who said it couldn't last. Remember too that the AIL league was flying, there was only about 3000 at that game against Harlequins and when we played Bourgoin I think the crowd in Thomond that day was about 5/6000. Mind you when we played Harlequins in the last game the place was nearly full."
"But," he says with a grin, "sure most of them would have come to see Woody."
"I definitely didn't think back then that today we'd be looking out at the magnificent stadium that's there now. It's fantastic and it's probably the Heineken Cup that is responsible for it being therein terms of requirements of catering for our supporters."
The competition itself certainly warms the cockles of the Limerick Junction man's heart. "Ah it's different allright. No question about that. You feel it in the week leading up to the game.There's a different atmosphere in the town. Everyone is looking forward to it. No matter who we're playing. There's that little bit of a extra buzz. Even in training like, even though we prepare in exactly the same way as for any other side. There's still that extra edge to things."
And it's that anticipation that according to Quinlan leaves no room for complacency. "Not in the slightest. We've studied videos of Montauban and they're a side that we need to respect a lot. And we will give them that respect. But we need to go out and play this game on our terms, to our game plan. We have to be confident in ourselves, comfortable in the role each of us has to play.
"I'm happy we've put in the work It's all about putting yourself in the right position to deliver the performance that is required to get over the finishing line in front. Hopefully that's what we can do on Friday."