Flaherty: Everyone dreams of winning the Cup

Gilly Flaherty celebrates a goal with Leanne Kiernan

West Ham United begin their FA Cup campaign this Sunday against Blackburn Rovers at Rush Green Stadium, with skipper Gilly Flaherty targeting a run deep in the competition

The FA Cup is a tournament that captain Gilly Flaherty has plenty of experience in, having won the cup on seven occasions with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Flaherty admits that it is one of the biggest competitions in the country and that every player wants to lift the famous trophy in their career.

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The defender said: “Whenever you ask a player to name a cup tournament, they will invariably respond with the FA Cup. Everyone in football knows the prestige and honour associated with this competition. As a young footballer growing up in England, it’s a trophy you dream of lifting above your head.

“During my time with Arsenal and Chelsea, I’ve had the honour of being a part of a team that won the FA Cup on seven occasions, including last year. That first time was one of the most incredible feelings I’ve ever experienced, and I can honestly say that each time since has felt just as significant and just as special.

“I said proudly when I joined West Ham last summer that I wanted to win trophies with this club, and I truly believe we have the quality in our side to go all the way in this competition this season. Winning silverware is the highlight of any professional footballers’ career, and it would be my honour to lift the FA Cup as West Ham captain.”

The Irons welcome Blackburn to Rush Green Stadium on Sunday and despite Rovers sitting two divisions below the Irons, Flaherty and her teammates are not underestimating their opponents who will provide a stern status on Sunday.

Flaherty said: “I know a few of Blackburn’s players from previous clubs, and they have been performing excellently in the Women’s National League North this campaign. They were unfortunate not to be promoted to the Championship last season, and continue to show they are a side not to be underestimated.”

After Monday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat against Liverpool in the Women’s Super League, Flaherty says the team has been working hard in training to prepare for Sunday’s game.

Flaherty added: “In the last game, against Liverpool, I felt our decision-making let us down slightly, but we were still unlucky not to take anything from the game. We have taken that frustration and worked harder than ever before. Everyone in this team – the players, the coaches, and I – are ready.

“This match is a massive game for us on a number of levels. It represents a chance to return to winning ways, to showcase the talent in our side, and take that first step on what we hope will be a memorable run in the FA Cup.”