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Crisps are my achilles heel. I also like healthy crisps sometimes I’m bad but good.

“The morning is spent doing strength and conditioning in the gym and then we start our field sessions in the afternoon.”

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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. 

A string of Byrne's current and former team mates were among the guests.

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Ireland's Emma Byrne leads out the team at Tallaght Stadium  

I love babies and puppies and I don’t have enough of them in my life. When I get to go home that’s what cheers me up really. I have four nieces and two nephews.

“If we decide we are going to try for children I will have to retired and that is really hard for me to do - and getting harder.”

Gorgeous Emma Byrne has revealed that starting a family will mean the end of her football career.

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What would you like to see the new Super League achieve? I would like every league game to be a high tempo competitive match. I think this would draw in the crowds and hopefully fill the grounds. It would be great to see fans coming and supporting their teams. ESPN are covering some of the games and hopefully they will continue to do this as media exposure is crucial to the game. 

What advice would you give to young women playing the game? I would say that they should always work hard. Fitness is a huge part of the game nowadays and work rate on the pitch is immense. There are huge opportunities for girls in football these days, whether it’s getting a professional contract or full scholarships and it’s worth putting in the hard work for.

How does the standard of playing and coaching compare with the women’s game abroad? The UK is up there with any country in Europe. At Arsenal we have great facilities and the coaches are top quality. England internationals have weight programmes and see personal instructors nearly every day. We’re on full time programmes and I always feel like I’m learning.

Who were your early influences – in football, in sport, in life? I was always very sporty and all of my family are quite sporty. I played a lot of badminton and I was involved in athletics so I was always fairly self-motivated. My best friend’s mum was the manager of the local football team and wouldn’t let us miss a training session.

And against? Marta (Brazil) is the best player I’ve ever played against. She played for UMEA in the UEFA Cup Final.

What are your future ambitions within the game? I would like to play for another 2 seasons at the top at least. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my peak yet so I’m training hard and focusing hard. I’m currently doing my B License and hopefully will go on to get all of my GK badges so I can give something back at grassroots level. I would like to coach GK at international level and maybe manage someday.

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The two teams that reach the final will star alongside Hart in the new Doritos TV ad and the winning team will get the change to channel their inner Wayne Rooney by travelling in a private jet to some of Europe’s most exciting cities for VIP treatment in top hotels and clubs.

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After we’ve lost a game. It’s probably got worse over the years because I’ve got all my coaching badges, so I know what I’ve done wrong and what I could have done better.

And disappointment? Playing for Arsenal brings a high standard and whenever we lose a game, there’s always disappointment. But on a personal note, one of the lowest times of my career would be when I ruptured my cruciate ligament. It’s a long-term injury and probably still affects me a little today even though my operation was over 10 years ago. 

What would you like to change about your appearance?

And advice for those interested in going into coaching? I would say to try and look at as many coaching sessions as you can get to. Pick up techniques/drills/mannerisms that you like and implement them into your own sessions. Try to achieve your FA coaching badges and never think you know it all because you will always learn something from someone else. 

“But what makes it worse is that I am taller than him,” she jokes, knowing her husband is within earshot. “I’ve changed my name on Facebook and on my bank account, but in football terms I’m still a Byrne.”

The Arsenal and Ireland goalkeeper, 34, married former footballer turned manager Marcus Bignot in June and already they have been fighting over the sport.

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Emma said: “We were beaten in the Champions League there by my husband’s side which has caused crazy domestic issues.

Byrne made her first appearance for the Republic of Ireland women's national football team on 31 March 1996 against Belgium. She won her 100th cap against Croatia on 26 September 2013.[5]

Byrne, Emma - Arsenal (ENG)

I very rarely cry over football. It’s usually going to be at a film. I watched My Sister’s Keeper last week — and that was it.

Within a year she was playing for the Irish U16 team. After finishing school she went to Denmark to play full time.

Emma, who is originally from Leixslip, Co Kildare, was back in Ireland yesterday to try and encourage women to enter a new competition by Doritos where teams will get the chance to take on top goalkeeper Joe Hart.

A cheeky question, maybe – do you enjoy playing for the Republic of Ireland more than Arsenal, since there’s perhaps more to do in a game? I can’t say I enjoy it more as it’s completely different. Playing for your country is the biggest honour for me and it’s something I never take for granted. But I’m really looking forward to the new WSL and it brings new targets which is always motivating.

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