By Rob Kelly

Ciara Grant admits it will be a special moment when she becomes the first woman to reach 100 caps for the ireland national team.

The Arsenal defender is expected to reach the landmark in Ireland's UEFA Women's Championship qualifier against Scotland on April 5.

Grant finds it hard to believe she has reached three figures and says her family are immensely proud of her achievement.

"It is a great honour to play for your country, but to reach 100 caps is even better," she told "To be the first Irish player to reach the landmark is really special - I'm very happy.

"My Mum and Dad are coming to Edinburgh to watch the game and they're very proud. My family have been great down the years, my parents have travelled all over the place to watch me play and they still come to England now to see my Arsenal games.

"I have two brothers and I think they get quite a bit of slagging with people saying, 'You're sister is better than you at football'! My family have been very supportive and I'm really thankful for that."

Grant admits it is strange to look back on her debut for Ireland in 1996 and think about how far she has come.

"My first cap was against the Faroe Islands in Dublin and all I remember is that I was on the bench and one of my old team-mates from my club in Ireland, Siobhan Furlong, got injured," she said.

"I didn't even have a chance to warm up - I was just sitting there and suddenly someone was pulling my tracksuit trousers off and I was told I was going on! I didn't have any time to get nervous.

"It was a long, long time ago but I have been quite lucky in that I have always been in and around the Irish team. I've managed to stay in there down the years, so I must have been doing something right."

Grant says much has changed since her debut - but it has been for the best.

"We get better looked after now," she said. "When I started, we had our training camps in Dublin and, being from Waterford, some of us had to stay at a FAI delegate's house.

"All the country girls that used to come up would stay there, so there would be 10 or 12 of us sleeping on his floor just for a training weekend. Now we stay in hotels and we're properly looked after.

"Things have also changed in the sense that the squad is getting stronger as well, the girls are probably younger when they start playing football so we have some good players coming through."

Grant will savour every moment as she completes her century and already has her sights on a new target.

"If I was young enough I'd say I'd like to reach 200 caps, but that's never going to happen!” she smiled. “With the Irish team, the next thing I'd like to do is help us qualify for a major finals. That would be great."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
3 Apr 2012