Ireland have made remarkable strides over the last few years, going from an underperforming outfit to one of the most consistent teams in European football. It has been an incredible journey, one that was capped off by qualifying for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
While there have been a number of key contributors to this process, none have been more important than Katie McCabe.
Not only is the Arsenal woman the captain of the team, but they also depend heavily on her to perform on the biggest occasions. She always does so, with the Dubliner playing a huge part during the recent qualification campaign.
Katie McCabe recalls being offered Ireland captaincy
At 27-years old, Katie McCabe still has plenty of years left at the top level. It feels like she should be older, with the winger having racked up 70 caps at international level since her senior debut back in 2015.
She was named as captain when she was just 21-years old, a decision that the took the player herself very much by surprise.
Speaking to Sky Sports, she recalled how she was away with her partner and Ireland teammate Ruehsa Littlejohn when manager Colin Bell asked her to give him a ring. Far from thinking she was about to be offered the captaincy, McCabe was actually worried that she was about to be read the riot act.
I was actually away up the north with Ruesha and her family at the time. I had a message from Colin Bell and I said to Ruesha 'I don't know what I've done, am I in trouble?'
I thought I was in trouble. I was like 21, I was a bit of a character at a young age and like to have a laugh and stuff like that. I was thinking 'what have I done?'
He said he just wanted a quick call so I phoned him up. He just said 'Katie this will be really quick, but I was wondering if you wanted to be the next captain of Ireland'. I was speechless, I was like 'is this a joke'.
I wasn't aware that Emma Byrne had retired, but obviously they had that conversation. I didn't think twice about it, I said 'of course' and it would be an absolute honour. He said thanks for accepting it, but of course I was going to accept it.
It was a really proud moment, I was so young...
I've always had a bit of confidence about me to say that if something like that arose, I could do it. It was difficult at the start because I was given the opportunity to be captain because of who I was and what Colin had seen from me at that point. Being such a young age, you can maybe lose yourself a little and think 'what would Emma have done?'
I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of the senior girls likes Louise [Quinn], Ruesha [Littlejohn], Diane [Caldwell], Niamh Fahey, and Denis [O'Sullivan]. Having those girls around me really helped during times I struggled with it.
It's fair to say she has more than lived up to the expectations that come with such a position.
Katie McCabe is one of the best players around at the moment and we are already looking forward to seeing her talents grace the biggest stage in the game later this summer.