Flaherty: We battled to the end and did West Ham proud
West Ham United may have lost the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final to Manchester City, but that does not stop Gilly Flaherty from feeling anything but pride for her team.
The Irons were halted at the final hurdle by City at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, denied a historic first trip to the Home of Football in the side’s first season as a professional outfit, as City scored three times in the second period.
Prior to that, West Ham had more than matched the side who had gone the entire domestic campaign unbeaten, with striker Jane Ross gong close to opening the scoring with a diving header.
I know I’m proud of every single one of our players. We battled to the end and did this club proud.
“We did ourselves so proud with how we defended in the first half,” Flaherty reflected. “We literally ran ourselves into the ground and perhaps fatigue set in during the second half.
“First half, perhaps we could have a penalty. Scotty [Jane Ross] also has a great chance but the goalkeeper makes a great save. We could have gone in at half-time 2-0 up which changes the game completely.
“We knew we would have to get City on the counter attack, and we’ve made chances. It’s a game where we could say ‘what if’, but I know I’m proud of every single one of our players. We battled to the end and did this club proud.
“We can take immense pride from what we’ve done, and it wasn’t a game that deserved a 3-0 score-line. I think Man City are lucky to win today.”
Over 43,000 supporters attended Wembley for Saturday’s FA Cup Final and Flaherty could not believe the brilliant efforts from West Ham fans in showing their appreciation for the women’s team.
The captain was delighted to get to the last two for the supporters and thinks the loud singing at full-time shows just proud West Ham fans are of the women’s team.
She continued: “The fans were incredible. They didn’t stop singing from the first minute to the end, even when we were 3-0 down. They carried on and they’re so proud of us and the way we’ve represented the club this year.
“It’s been a tough season, but we’ve done ourselves proud. We can take pride in getting to the Final.”
The end of Saturday’s match means West Ham have just one game left this campaign, and Flaherty reckons the Hammers can take more positives than negatives from their efforts.
The No5 feels the loss is a massive learning curve and has backed the club to return to Wembley for another final before long.
“Whether it be the players, the backroom staff, Matt Beard or even the people behind the scenes, everyone can be so proud,” she added. “I think some people expected us to come here and get completely wiped out, but we can be proud of this.
“I know a few girls in the dressing room will have a taste for this now and we will do our very best to get back here again.”