WATER polo player Niamh Moloney has said winning a national accolade will help her believe she can reach new heights in the sport.

The talented Dunfermline Water Polo Club member, 19, has been recognised for a memorable year in the pool by being named as the Scottish Water Polo Senior Water Polo Player of the Year for 2021.

Presented by Scottish Water Polo chair Tom Gebbie (pictured above with Niamh), the award – together with the Junior Water Polo Player of the Year prize – is handed out annually as part of Scottish Swimming's awards.

Niamh's success means that she has now won both the senior and junior awards, having been presented with the latter in 2018, after a 12 months that saw her earn her first senior Great Britain call-up.

Her inclusion in squads for the Danube League – a competition featuring teams from Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – saw her become the first water polo player from Scotland to be picked for a senior GB squad since Dunfermline's Alasdair Campbell was in 2014.

Niamh has played in the opening two rounds of competition, the first of which was in Serbia, followed by the second in Hungary at the beginning of last month, and she hopes that being recognised with a national award will help her cement her place in the squad for future competitions.

"My dad always told me, 'You've got to believe in yourself'. I said to him, 'Yeah I do', but obviously this helps a lot," she told Press Sport.

"When you receive awards, it pushes you to try harder in the years to follow. Hopefully, I keep on going and doing well.

"I've probably not been as confident in myself as I should be. I got told that you need to go for it more but it definitely helps to make me believe in myself that I can do a lot better and that I can achieve things that I didn't think I'd be able to achieve.

"When I started water polo, I never thought I'd end up playing for GB and things like that. When I started, it was just for fun because I'd just stopped swimming, and it was just something to keep me occupied.

"When I started getting into the sessions a lot more, my coaches told me that I could do a lot more if I wanted to, and that's when I realised that I could end up, hopefully, playing for GB. I achieved that and, hopefully, representing the team would be very good in an international competition as well in the future.

"It's good that I have people there that I can go and talk to if I need any help with anything, or even just them saying well done today. It definitely drives me to do better and achieve as much as possible in this sport, especially now that I'm in the senior squad.

"Hopefully, COVID-dependent, there should be some good competitions in the next few years that I'd really like to be part of. It's good to have that support around me to help me get picked for those competitions."

On her award success, Niamh admitted she was taken by surprise, continuing: "I didn't know I was getting it until I actually received the trophy. It was a big shock but I'm very happy that I got it.

"I didn't really know if they'd be doing awards this year or not because there's been no competitions and things like that because of COVID, so it was a surprise that they were doing the awards anyway and then that I won it.

"It's nice to know that all that effort I'd been putting into water polo is being recognised and people are recognising what I'm achieving.

"It's nice to know throughout the years that I'm still being supported, people still believe in me and recognise my efforts in water polo. That's quite a nice confidence-booster as well, to know that what I'm doing is very good, and to keep going with it really."