Denise O’Sullivan set to become Irish centurion against USA this April

Cork midfielder is one of the most talented players of her generation
Denise O’Sullivan set to become Irish centurion against USA this April

Leeside legend: Denise O'Sullivan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

DENISE O’Sullivan is set to earn her 100th Irish cap in a friendly against reigning World Cup champions USA in America this April.

Vera Pauw and her team will travel to the States for a 10-day training camp and a doubleheader against the No 1 ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings.

O’Sullivan is set to become a centurion on April 8 in Austin, Texas and the two teams will meet again three days later in St Louis, Missouri.

The midfielder will make her mark on Irish football history in the land where she won two NSWL Championships and three NSWL Shields with North Carolina Courage.

Once O’Sullivan becomes a centurion, she will join an exclusive list that includes the likes of Robbie Keane, John O’Shea, Aine O’Gorman, and Emma Byrne.

No other footballer from Cork, male or female, is in that exclusive club that has just 10 members. To put this longevity into context, Roy Keane has only 67 senior caps and Denis Irwin has 56.

She recently earned her 99th cap during a 0-0 draw with China at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Spain. Ireland will now play Germany in a behind-closed-doors friendly, and O’Sullivan will not receive a cap for this as it is not officially recognised by the sport’s governing bodies.

Denise O'Sullivan sprays a pass. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Denise O'Sullivan sprays a pass. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The midfielder played the full 90 minutes in Spain and she delivered a textbook performance by dominating centre of the pitch.

O’Sullivan broke up play, linked things up, and controlled the traffic against a Chinese team still buoyant from their success in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.


Ireland were unlucky on the day as Louise Quinn hit the crossbar from a corner and she had a goal controversially ruled out over an infringement on the Chinese keeper.

The friendly also saw Megan Connolly make a return to the national team after injury forced her to miss the end of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, picked up an injury during the 1-0 win over Finland last September at Tallaght Stadium and that halted her international career until this window.

Connolly nearly rounded out the perfect comeback with a goal but she had her free-kick well saved.

In addition to playing the USA, Pauw’s team are set to face France later on this year at Tallaght Stadium and that will be their big send-off before heading off to the World Cup. Ireland will start the tournament by playing Australia on the first day at the Accor Stadium in Sydney and then they will face Canada and Nigeria.

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