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Farrelly looks to continue last season’s fine form.

Sacrificing her Debs night for football is proof enough that Niamh Farrelly’s recent explosion onto the Irish football scene isn’t by mishap.

Being crowned FAI U19 Women’s Player of the Year last week was the icing on the cake for what was a stellar season for the Dublin teen. In what was a gratifying night for the Peamount United star, she insists it came as a bit of a surprise to her.

“ I didn’t really expect it.

“Obviously I was delighted just to be nominated, then when I actually won it I on the night, it was just great,” said Niamh.

In what was a rich run of form for the Lucan native last season, other personal accolades began to present themselves in her path. In September Farrelly was voted Continental Tyres Women’s National League player of the month, followed by a nomination for WNL Senior Player of the Season; two prolific attainments for a girl of just 19 years of age.

Niamh a versatile player, comfortable operating in the centre of midfield and defence, puts last season’s success down to good timing and extra work behind the scenes.

“I think when I finished off with the 19s in April that’s when my season sort of peaked.

“I worked on my fitness and I worked on my technical side of the game, then we seemed to gel together as a team and I think that just helped me to progress as a player”, said the DCU student.

Captaining her country’s u19 team is a memory that will live long in the memory of Farrelly as one of her proudest moments, albeit a missed occasion on the road to gaining the armband.

Laughing, Niamh said: “I actually missed out on my Debs over that.

“The training camp fell on the same week of my school’s debs, so initially I was real upset over it.

“But then when they told me I’d be captain for the year, it all went out the window and I was buzzing.”

After further spells of sheer domination on the field, Farrelly was rewarded with the finest prize of them all; a call up to Colin Bell’s senior international squad.

“That was huge. I didn’t expect that at all really,”she said.

The sports science student added: “When I got called up it was a shock, but I was over the moon. I was excited to get in with the squad and just see what it’s like. The difference in the standard is huge but it was definitely a great experience.”

Some busy times lie ahead for the ‘Peas’ midfielder and her senior squad comrades, as they prepare for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 Qualifiers. Niamh hopes to make the upcoming squad who set off for Italy on a ten day camp, departing on the 1st of April for what will be ‘some good preparation’ for the qualifiers which commence on September the 3rd. Up first for Colin Bell’s side, a home tie against Montenegro.

Maintaining such a high standard isn’t by any means an easy feat. Niamh’s intense schedule highlights the dedication needed, as she strides to reach the pinnacle of her game.

“It’s pretty intense. I have Peamount twice a week, I have my college team on a Monday, then I train with colin on a Wednesday with Homebase and then obviously I have my own gym and individual sessions, followed by a match at the weekend, so it’s pretty full on”, said Farrelly.

Back in 2017, Ireland’s Ladies soccer reached turmoil, as a long burning resentment by members of the international women’s side came to a head as Stephanie Roche and co spoke to the media about the bog standard treatment they were falling victim to.

Aine O Gorman memorably spoke of how they had been “getting changed in public toilets on the way to matches” and how all they were seeking was “the basics”.

A turning point however appears to have been reached according to Niamh; a recent trip to Marbella for a training camp a sign of improvement for the international women’s team.

“I can’t say I was part of the set up when the whole thing was going on about the conditions and stuff, but definitely the girls have said its changed completely since then, so that’s good.

“We’re getting travel compensation and stuff like that now so things are much better than back then it seems”, quoted Farrelly.

As an Arsenal fan herself, training with the established Gunners duo of Katie McCabe and Louise Quinn is an immense learning curve for Niamh. She said: “Getting changed and training with players of their quality is just deadly.

“Even just listening to them and hearing their stories from Arsenal is unbelievable and to learn from them and try to get to where they’re at is huge .

“ Its proof that it’s not too far out of reach, you know.”

Granted no immediate interest from any English clubs just yet for the 19 year old, Niamh insists it is in her sights and if and if an offer arose, she would duly “grab it with open arms”.

In terms of personal aims for the year, Farrelly knows what she wants, and she seems as though she won’t be side tracked on her path to getting it.

Niamh said: “For Peamount this year, we’re hoping to win the league. We dropped short last year, which was disappointing considering the talent we have in the squad.

“Obviously we lost in the cup final that was something we wanted. We did win the league cup but definitely the league and the FAI cup final are the ones I want to win this year.

“Then with the Ireland squad obviously my goal at the start of the year was to just get into the camps, and I’ve been in the past 2 camps, so hopefully I get into the April camp and from there, push into the squad, then try get into the starting 11 for the Euros campaign”.

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