By Declan Taylor
According to Gilly Flaherty, it was those who doubted Arsenal Ladies who inspired them to clinch their fourth domestic treble.
The young defender completed 90 minutes for the Gunners in their title-winning 1-0 victory over Everton on Sunday. It was the perfect climax to a thrilling run-in for the Ladies who knew that nothing less than a win on Merseyside would scoop their fifth successive League crown.
Questions were asked of Vic Akers’ side when they lost some of their star players to the new Women’s Professional Soccer League in America. But the Ladies defied their critics by sweeping the board in domestic competitions once again.
For Flaherty it was those doubters who helped pave the way for this season’s success.
"Everyone's been saying that we're not good enough to win the league but it fired us up,” the 17-year-old declared.
“We've gone out there [at Everton] and proved everyone wrong and showed that we're still the best team in the country.
"Obviously it's been a hard year for us with losing players and it was tough all the way through, but we've finally won it and it feels sweet.
"We've won every domestic competition that we've been in and that makes it even sweeter as well - I'm so proud of all the girls, we've worked so hard for it and we deserve it.”
A knee injury to defensive stalwart Faye White this season has thrust Flaherty into the spotlight in only her second season as a first-team Arsenal Lady.
Her sparkling performances at centre-half this term have ear-marked her as one of Women’s football’s brightest prospects but the teenager was keen to pay tribute to her experienced defensive partner.
"I really enjoy playing alongside Ciara Grant,” said Flaherty. “She has brought me on a lot this season and you can't buy the experience she has got.
“We work well alongside each other and hopefully it'll continue next season as well.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 May 2009