Northern Ireland lost all of its games at Euro 2022, but that hasn’t dimmed emotions at home, where young players claim their ultimate underdog narrative has inspired them.
The players will return home after suffering their third and final defeat to England yesterday night.
However, young players in the nation believe watching their new idols on such a large platform has changed their lives.
More than half of the Northern Ireland squad’s 23 players work or study while also playing part-time in the Irish Women’s Premiership.
Compare that to England’s Lucy Bronze, who will join Barcelona from Manchester City after the tournament concludes.
Radio 1 Newsbeat visited Ballyclare Comrades Ladies, a local football team in Northern Ireland, to find out how significant Euro 2022 is to them.
“They’ve done us proud,” says Lily Noble-Owen, who captains a local team.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for the women’s team. We have so many girls at our club that are in the youth levels of Northern Irish football. And I think for girls here and girls like them to watch what their future can become is so important.
“It’s something that they probably haven’t seen before and something that they can kind of aspire towards.”
Lily, who lives in Belfast, started playing football when she was 12 and there “were only boys’ teams”.
“Girls’ teams didn’t really exist, so I started playing football with boys,” she says.
“But I think now there is a pathway for girls, being that women’s football has become such a big sport. It’s nice to finally see ladies football coming to the surface and getting the attention and praise that it deserves.”
Ballyclare coach Karen Mornin O’Neill agrees with Lily and thinks the national squad are a “great inspiration and role model to our girls”.
“It’s just ground-breaking. It’s great for raising awareness, it’s great for breaking boundaries and stereotypes,” she says.
“Not only are they great role models physically on the pitch – they’re strong, they’re resilient, they go down they get straight back up – but they’re also great ambassadors for just health and mental well-being.”
Karen, who also works as a PE teacher, says they have seen more girls and young women coming forward to play since the Euros began.
“The buzz has been unbelievable. Every time you go to every village you see the posters. It’s great to see, it’s great for our women and for women’s football.”