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11 May 2009
Two SOUTHWARK girls played central roles in Arsenal Ladies’ FA cup final triumph on Monday, helping the Gunners to their fourth consecutive cup winner's title.
Midfielder Katie Chapman, 26, from Bermondsey, scored the first of the north London outfit’s two goals against Sunderland, and despite a late equaliser the Gunners held on for a victory.
Also central to the win was teenager Gilly Flaherty, who scooped her first big honour with the first team on Bank Holiday Monday. The seventeen-year-old from Rotherhithe put in a sterling performance at centre-half, having been preferred to England International Faye White by manager Vic Akers.
Speaking to the 'News' Gilly said: "For the last seven or eight games I have started as Faye has been injured. But she was back for the final and Vic put his faith in me. "I was just so pleased with how I played and winning the final, but Faye helped me out with the warm up and made sure I was OK before the game."
The former Millwall Lioness admitted she was a touch nervous before the game, as she has never played in front of a crowd of 23,000 people before. "I didn't really know what to expect, I went out to Chile with England where there were large crowds but I didn't actually play," she said. "I knew I would start this game, but once we started playing I felt OK."
The teenager has already attained International honours at a number of age groups, and hopes to be selected for the European under nineteen tournament in Belarus this summer, which the national side has recently qualified for.
In the meantime another domestic honour sits tantalisingly in front of her, with Arsenal currently sitting on top of the Premier League with one game to go.
However that encounter is with second placed Everton who have pushed the all conquering Gunners all the way this season, and created a final day winner takes all contest.
That is how Gilly is viewing the encounter. She said: "If we win the game we will win the title, and it is as simple as that. Until we get closer to the game I will try not to think about it, but come a couple of days before the game my focus will be totally on it."
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