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Ireland squad has grown together through disappointment - Denise O'Sullivan

Togetherness off the field is helping Ireland progress on the field, says Denise O'Sullivan.



Denise O'Sullivan joined Nathan Murphy on The Football Show after Ireland beat Slovakia.

Ireland are not yet at the World Cup, but they're in a good position.

Vera Pauw's team will compete in the playoffs for one of the final spots in the competition. They will also be seeded to skip the first round after beating Slovakia. Denise O'Sullivan scored the decisive goal in Slovakia and has again been a key player for Ireland throughout their campaign.

O'Sullivan has conceded the spotlight as Ireland's most popular player to Katie McCabe, but she remains just as pivotal a piece in Irish football. The 28-year-old is an experienced campaigner in a relatively young team. Her leadership and quality in the center of the park has been an earmark of Ireland's success. O'Sullivan credits different things for Ireland's ascension into this position.

The team has more talent now, but they also have leadership and a great togetherness.

"I think it's a combination of everything," O'Sullivan said.

"We have leaders on this pitch, the Louise Quinns, the Niamh Faheys, Dianes, they're all huge players for us. And what was huge for us was our connection off the pitch because this campaign we're a close-knit team.

"I think the disappointments of not making the Euros and those games stood to us in this campaign.

"The togetherness of the team is phenomenal."

O'Sullivan herself has endured a changing role for Ireland. Sometimes she has played central midfield in a flat four, sometimes she has played behind a striker. And more recently, she has dropped into a deep-lying role to direct the younger players around her.

She is a former winger, but O'Sullivan's technical quality and intelligence allows her to play anywhere.

"I definitely covered a lot of ground. For me, I do that at club level anyway, I cover a lot of ground and that's my job. But I played in this deeper role in these last two games and I think that's a completely different ball game compared to playing as the 10.

"I was more of a box-to-box player. It was all about the team in these past two games.

"We build a lot through the 6s at club so I think it's different coming into the national team where we don't build as much. And we don't have as much possession of the ball...so it definitely suits me more in that deeper role at club level, then coming into national team more of a 10."

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