Flaherty: Winning the FA Cup would be pinnacle of my career

Gilly Flaherty


West Ham United women’s captain Gilly Flaherty admits that a win against Manchester City in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday would top the list of her career achievements.

The Hammers make the trip to Wembley Stadium on Saturday where they will take on Nick Cushing’s Manchester City, who recently finished second in the Women’s Super League after Arsenal’s victory against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend.

The Irons route to the final saw them see off both Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town, before most recently beating Reading in the semi-finals on penalties after the game finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Flaherty is looking forward to Saturday’s game and the prospect of facing one of the best teams in the country and believes she has proved any doubters wrong.

The captain told whufc.com: “I think it would be the pinnacle really in my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of many successful teams, but to come here, obviously there were a few eyebrows raised when leaving Chelsea, we were fighting at the top end and to come to a club that really was brand new in our first professional year. 

“Obviously, I trusted Beardy and his vision for the Club and I wanted to be a part of it and obviously us getting to the FA Cup Final proved to be the right decision.”

Although Saturday’s game will be a tough one against top opposition, Flaherty knows what sort of magic the FA Cup can provide, and the Irons are prepared and focused on their game.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of many successful teams, but I think it would be the pinnacle really in my career.

Gilly Flaherty

Flaherty said: “You never know what you’re going to expect when it comes to the FA Cup Final, you never know how players are going to react to playing in front of that many thousand fans. I think we focus on us and we do our game plan and go at them.

“I think it’s really hard when people ask what it’s like to be there, it’s really hard to put it in to words. For me I don’t prepare any differently to if I’ve got a home game, or away game to an FA Cup Final. I know people will say that it’s a bit of a cliché, but I don’t prepare any differently and for me I buzz off it.

“It’s making sure you stay calm, keep your head and don’t let the occasion affect you. You’re not going to be able to hear each other on the pitch, so it’s about making sure you take care of your own game and just turning up

“You’ve got to remember that Manchester City have only been in one FA Cup Final themselves and won it once.”

Flaherty also knows how important the fans will be on Saturday to help push the Hammers towards the trophy and just how vital they were in the semi-final against Reading.

She said: “You could see in the Reading game we had over 800 fans there and I think if anyone was honest you would’ve thought it was a home game for us. 

“They were incredible, the girls were saying it when they came out to kick-off the game that the hairs were standing up on their arms, it was an unbelievable feeling and it was an incredible day. I know full well that we’ll have thousands of fans there rooting for us on Saturday.”