A DUNFERMLINE Water Polo Club youngster named as one of the country's top players has set her sights on reaching the European Championships.

Niamh Moloney, 15, has said that her "big ambition" is to be selected for the Great Britain team that will competed at the Women's European Junior Water Polo Championships next year after an impressive 12 months in the pool.

In addition to starring for her club in their senior and under-19 teams – the latter of which won the Scottish Water Polo Championship in April – she has turned out for Scotland, trained with the GB under-19s, with whom she was first reserve for this year's European Championships, and been voted Scottish Swimming's Junior Water Polo Player of the Year.

A pupil at Kinross High School, which has produced stellar sporting talent in the shape of Pitreavie AAC's Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Eilidh Doyle, and European 1500 metres athletics champion Laura Muir, Niamh is hoping to follow in their footsteps and perform at the highest level in her sport.

"I went for trials with the under-19 GB team last October, and I didn't expected to be picked to train," she said.

"This year, I went to Hungary and Holland for training camps. I was really nervous first time because I didn't really know the girls that well but after I got to know them it was hard work, but fun.

"I'm a lot more confident in my skills and I've got the chance to try and make the European Championships in the 2002 (under-17) team next year.

"It's a big ambition to be selected."

Niamh already has international experience behind her, having been part of the Scotland senior team – which included her sister, and former Dunfermline player, Claire – that competed in the EU Nations tournament earlier this year, as well as their junior side, Scotland Saltires.

She was voted Most Valuable Player while playing for them at the Under-18 Inter-Regional Championships, and has featured for the Caledonia senior team – consisting of players from clubs across Scotland – that take part in the British leagues.

Despite that, being recognised individually by Scottish Swimming was a surprise, as she continued: "I didn't really expect it!

"I was at school and found out during lunch, so I was really shocked, but chuffed.

"I only really started a few years ago. I used to do competitive swimming and me and my sister saw the club come in to the pool after, so we went along and enjoyed it.

"I've played for the senior Scotland women's team, and I've been playing for Caley, which has been a good experience as you get to play teams at a higher level.

"I didn't expect to achieve all of that."

Proud mum Nicola added: "She's not stopped smiling (since winning her award) and she went to the Euros as first reserve, and she's only 15.

"It would be amazing if she was selected next year but I feel happy she's been recognised for the hard work she's put in."