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08th Oct 2019

O’Sullivan and McCabe put on a show in Tallaght to bring Ireland one step closer to Euro 2021

Ireland 3-2 Ukraine

Denise O’Sullivan screams for the ball.

She roars at her Ireland teammates to push forward. ‘Our ball’ she shouts just to keep the lines woman on her toes. The Cork woman who has found a home in Australia, is right at home here in Tallaght Stadium for the Irish womens’ crucial Euro 2021 qualifier against Ukraine.

She drives forward, the lively number 10, and drags the Ireland women up along with her. Spiritually, but literally too. Because if they don’t push up with her, they’ll be let known about it. This is how we do it.

The enthusiasm is infectious. The kids in the crowd roar. Some of the adults do too. It’s amazing what one irrepressible player can do. The Irish women have their dander up now.

All O’Sullivan wants is the ball. She sees plenty of it an inspired first half. Sometimes it comes easy, she was on it 14 times. But she makes sure it comes. Four interceptions and no fewer than five successful tackles in 45 minutes of football. Her relentless appetite for the ball and endless engine makes it all look easy.

She chases down lost causes for fun. The Ukrainians will most definitely be having O’Sullivan shaped nightmares.

And those heroics from the attack-minded midfielder, were what sent Ireland on their way. 24 minutes said the clock when she demanded and received another pass in midfield.

Head up. Green grass. The Cork woman puts it on a plate for Rianna Jarrett who will run and run. Anticipation fuels the Dublin 24 air.

Jarrett beats her marker and puts it into the hometown hero. Captain fantastic Katie McCabe slots it home. Ireland 1-0 Ukraine. O’Sullivan’s work paying off a fine reward.

But she’s far from done there. Still willing to gallop, still willing to chase. Still with a first touch that can put Ukrainians in a tizzy.

Moments later and Katie McCabe is at it again. The hometown hero swings in a delicious corner which Riana Jarrett meets with a bang. Ireland 2-0 Ukraine and the 5328 record attendance for a women’s international in Ireland, are going wild.

Maybe a bit too wild. Within two minutes the lead has been relinquished. Vera Pauw is roaring this time as two defensive errors, one from goalkeeper Maria Hourihan and one from Megan Campbell allow Ukraine back into it.

Still though. Four goals in one half of football. Endless excitement. This was worth coming to see. O’Sullivan and McCabe were most definitely worth coming to see.

And there was plenty more to come.

By now, McCabe was growing into it even more. Her credentials well known, she’s one of the best players at Arsenal. She looked a class apart in the second half where her composure in possession and enthusiasm off it had Ireland going in the right direction.

Her first touch is something special and her ability to draw defenders and to create space for her teammates is second to very few.

Others to impress included the relentless Rianna Jarrett and the speedy Keeva Keenan. It was that woman O’Sullivan who helped bundle in the own goal that would eventually prove to be the winner.

From then on it was gallant defending and lots of work-rate.

Two out of two for the girls in green. Some night in Tallaght stadium.