Emma Byrne
Emma Byrne

Emma Byrne

Emma has represented her country at every age group and is still the Republic of Ireland’s number one keeper after winning more than 90 senior caps over 15 years.

Now in her 13th league season with Arsenal Ladies after spells in Ireland and Denmark, Emma is approaching 400 games for the Gunners and is known as one of the world’s best shot-stoppers. 

Emma Byrne Profile

Born June 14, 1979
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Previous Club(s) St Patricks, Fortuna Hjorring


Which player most inspired you and why?   
Susan Hayden, the previous goalkeeper for the Republic of Ireland. Susan was the best goalkeeper I have ever trained with. Her attitude and ability were second to none. She inspired me to fear nothing and demand professionalism from everyone involved in the game. She was driven by the love of the game and her country.

Which coach most inspired you?
Alex Welsh. Alex is currently the Tottenham Hotspur boys' youth coach but previously coached the boys at Arsenal. He allowed me to train with the Arsenal boys every week for 10 years. By far, the best coach I have ever worked with and one of the main reasons I've performed to the best of my ability, consistently. Alex is not only a fantastic coach, he's a brilliant person. He's my mentor in football and in life!

What was the best advice he gave you?

It's very hard to single out one particular piece of advice as the best. If I had a bad game and was feeling low in confidence, Alex would assure me that you don't become a bad player overnight. One bad game does not make you a bad goalkeeper. It made me work hard in the session and get back on track.

Best player you’ve played with?
Olivia O'Toole. Olivia is now retired from international football but she's by far the best player I have ever played with. She's never been recognised as one of the best because people only judge on "final stages" and unfortunately, Ireland never qualified for the finals. But I've played at every level for my club and played against the best for my country - Olivia is up there!

Toughest opponent?
Club - Lyon. Player - Abby Wambach

What are your memories of your first club as a child?
I absolutely fell in love with football. My best friend's mum was the manager and all of my friends were involved! The people definitely made it for me!

What tip would you give a young player hoping to succeed?

I would tell them ability alone isn't enough anymore. It takes really hard work and commitment. There'll be ups and downs but if they work hard consistently, they'll get their rewards at the end of it.