Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Byrne has won The FA Women’s Cup eight times – but it are the ones that got away she thinks about the most.
The Republic of Ireland captain is currently preparing to take on Everton in Sunday’s Final at stadium:mk, home to MK Dons.
The Gunners have won this competition a record 12 times, with Byrne picking up her first winners’ medal in 2001. She also lifted The Cup four times in a row between 2006 and 2009.
Arsenal v Everton
The FA Women's Cup
4.30pm, Sunday 1 June 2014
stadium:mk, MK Dons FC
Live on BBC Two
But such is her craving for glory, the 34-year-old believes she dwells more on the barren years than she probably should.
She said: “The FA Cup is huge for us. The Final is probably the best game of the season. It’s something that we look to be involved in every year and it’s only when you’re not involved in The Final that you realise how much it means to you.
“When Birmingham won it in 2012 I could only watch it on TV for about 10 minutes and then I had to turn it off. It was heartbreaking not being in The Final.
“Two of our main objectives every season is to get to this Final and to win it, so when we don’t achieve that it does eat away at you until the following season.
“I don’t want to sound selfish or arrogant, and I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved in the game, but when you win trophies it feels fantastic and you want to experience that feeling as much as possible.
“Every player is in the game to win things and I’m no different. Maybe I should think about the times we won it more, but that’s what drives me on.”
Byrne has yet to start a match in this season’s competition, but watched on with glee as Arsenal saw off Gillingham, their Champions League conquerors Birmingham City and then London rivals Chelsea to reach this weekend’s showpiece – and what will be manager Shelley Kerr’s final match in charge.
“It was a relief when we beat Chelsea, with it going to extra-time, and it feels fantastic to be back in The Final.
“You know every game will be tough and that’s what The FA Cup is all about. You have to beat the best teams to win it. As soon as we drew Birmingham we knew it was going to be a hard game so I was glad that we could get that Champions League defeat out of our system. We had the bit between our teeth and we were itching to get through.
“We knew the Chelsea game would be huge because of all the signings they have made and because of the ex-Arsenal players that have gone there. We have certainly had to play to our best to get to here. We have really earned it this year.
“We have done our homework on Everton and we are well prepared for it. I think it will be a really, really good game, and hopefully an open game for the fans to enjoy.”
The FA Girls’ Youth Cup Final between Everton and Liverpool (KO 1pm) will take place before the main Final, and forms one part of a tantalising double-header.
Tickets for the double-header are currently priced at £6 for adults and £3 for concessions while a family ticket is available at £15. Ticket prices will increase on the day of the game to £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and a family ticket will increase by £5.
Call 01908 622900 to purchase or buy online