Denise O’Sullivan: I just dropped to my knees, it was very emotional

Ireland's gifted midfielder played a key role in the World Cup qualifier win over Finland
Denise O’Sullivan: I just dropped to my knees, it was very emotional

Tears of joy for Denise O'Sullivan and Katie McCabe. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

DENISE O’Sullivan admitted she was moved to tears in the aftermath of Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Finland, which secured a first-ever World Cup play-off spot for the Girls In Green.

The midfielder, who was joined in the starting line-up by another Leesider Megan Connolly, played the full 90-plus minutes at Tallaght Stadium in front of a record-breaking crowd of 6,952 spectators.

They were treated to a show as Ireland defended their lines brilliantly before Lily Agg headed in from a Megan Connolly free-kick.

"I just dropped to my knees, it was very emotional,” she said.

"I think that this team has been through a lot and not getting to the Euros was a big blow for us. It was a nightmare. To get to a play-off is unbelievable. 

We still have a long way to go. We still have a game to play Tuesday and we’ll be looking to get the three points there."

 “There were definitely a few tears. It was emotional. You could hear the fans and the stadium was absolutely rocking. They’ve been with us every step of the way."

Her family, from the northside of Cork city, travelled in numbers to support her, as they always have throughout a career that has seen her flourish into a brilliant playmaker and star turn in America. 

 “My family was there too. It was a huge day and they know how much this means to me. I was emotional but we’re all happy.

“They were all wearing Ireland jerseys. I think they all went to my mam’s house to grab all the Ireland jerseys that I left behind. 

"Family is everything and they show up for every single game that I play here. I live in America and they are on the phone to me every single day. 

"They’ve done a lot for me and they are my biggest support system. To have them here tonight is amazing.” 

 The midfield maestro also took a moment to cast her mind back to the club she started out with, Wilton United in the CWSSL.

“I couldn’t even dream of that,” she imagined telling herself about qualification back when she was with Wilton.

“Playing for your country is the pinnacle and that is what you want to do. That is what I’ve always dreamed of. 

"To say that I have made a play-off is absolutely unbelievable. I’m very happy.” 

Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 qualifier at Tallaght Stadium. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Denise O'Sullivan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 qualifier at Tallaght Stadium. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

HISTORIC 

O’Sullivan dedicates the win to everyone connected with the squad, from players to fans.

“It’s a historical result for all those girls and there’s girls who’ve been in the squad years, like Savannah McCarthy, who have all been in the squad years and they are out injured. 

"I’m sure they were quite emotional watching the game and wishing they were a part of the team. 

"They are a part of the team and they’ve been part of the journey. That was for them and all those young girls at the stadium who look up to us.”

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