Pride intact for ‘sick’ Rafferty

Manchester City's Tessa Wullaert (left) and West Ham United's Claire Rafferty during the FA Women's

Manchester City's Tessa Wullaert (left) and West Ham United's Claire Rafferty during the FA Women's Super League match The Academy Stadium, Manchester. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Sickness prematurely ended Claire Rafferty’s SSE Women’s FA Cup Final, but pride remained in abundance despite West Ham’s Wembley defeat.

Ill-timed illness threatened to dampen Rafferty’s Wembley moment but nothing was going to stop her taking to the field as the Hammers looked to stun Manchester City.

It wasn’t to be this time but for a side in the FA Women’s Super League for the first time this season, a runners-up spot in the season showcase is nothing to sniff at.

Now it’s about pushing to the next step for 30-year-old Rafferty – at least once she feels back to her best.

“The occasion was fantastic, the fans were amazing – especially the West Ham fans who were with us all the way,” she said.

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“I’m really proud of all the girls and that’s really something to build on for us.

“Nobody expected us to do this in the first season, it’s a massive positive for us and we’ve had some lessons learned, we can go into next season knowing we can push for the next step.

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“I haven’t been well, I was up through the night being sick – I was lucky to play that long, there was nothing that was going to stop me from playing that game.”

West Ham held Nick Cushing’s unbeaten City to the break, but a breakthrough came seven minutes into the second half through Keira Walsh’s bouncing strike from outside the area.

The Hammers were not done there in their first major final but the equaliser was not forthcoming and City added to their tally in a harsh 3-0 scoreline, with late goals from youngsters Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp.

“There are so many ups and downs in sport, you really have to bounce back and get as many positives as possible,” added Rafferty.

“We will really have to zone in, focus on what was good and what wasn’t, and take positives from what we did well.”

*As the energy behind women’s football, SSE’s ambition is to support girls of all ages in England, helping them join in football from grassroots to the elite level.

For more information on SSE’s sponsorships and activities visit their website

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