SACRIFICING her debs night for football is proof enough that Niamh Farrelly’s recent explosion onto the Irish football scene isn’t by accident.
Being crowned FAI Under-19 Women’s Player of the Year last week was the icing on the cake in a stellar season for the Dublin teen although the Peamount United star insists it came as a bit of a surprise .
“I didn’t really expect it,” she said. “Obviously I was delighted just to be nominated, then when I actually won it on the night, it was just great.”
A rich run of form for the Lucan native last season meant this wasn’t the only personal accolade achieved. In September, Farrelly was voted Continental Tyres Women’s National League (WNL) player of the month, followed by a nomination for WNL Senior Player of the Season.
The midfielder 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 my technical side of the game, then we seemed to gel together and I think that just helped me to progress as a player”, said the DCU student.
Captaining her country’s Under-19 team is an honour 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: “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”.
Farrelly’s form was then rewarded with the finest prize of them all; a call up to Colin Bell’s Irish squad.
“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.”
Maintaining such a high standard isn’t an easy feat by any means, Niamh’s intense schedule highlighting the dedication needed to reach the top.
“It’s pretty intense. I’ve Peamount twice a week, my college team on a Monday, I train with Colin on a Wednesday with the homebased players and then obviously I have my own gym and individual sessions, followed by a match at the weekend, so it’s pretty full on.”
More busy times lie ahead for the Peas’ midfielder and her senior squad comrades, as they prepare for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 Qualifiers. The squad set off for Italy on a ten day camp in April, to help prepare for the qualifiers which begin in September.
In terms of personal aims for the year, Farrelly knows what she wants, and it seems she won’t be side tracked on her road to success.
“For Peamount this year, the league and the FAI Cup are the ones I want to win.
“Then with the Ireland squad obviously my goal is to get into the April camp and from there, push into the squad and then try get into the starting 11 for the Euros campaign.”