Irish Player Denise O’Sullivan Injured in World Cup Friendly
In a highly physical friendly match between the Ireland Women’s National Team and Colombia, Denise O’Sullivan, the talented Cork player, fell victim to a second cautionable challenge by a Colombian player. The intensity of the game prompted Ireland boss Vera Pauw to approach referee Caitlin Williams and call a halt to the match after just 19 minutes. O’Sullivan walked off the pitch at Ireland’s team base in Meakin Park and was immediately taken to St Andrew’s Hospital for scans on her shin. Manager Pauw is expected to provide an update on her condition at 10am local time (1am Irish time). Dr Siobhan Foreman provided initial treatment on the field, while Irish physio Angela Keneally accompanied O’Sullivan to the hospital.
The behind-closed-doors game, held in Meakin Park, Brisbane, was officially ended after 20 minutes of play due to the excessive physicality displayed by both teams. Following consultation with the match officials, it was decided that the game could not continue. The FAI released a statement confirming the decision and stating that the Irish team proceeded with a full training session to continue their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, with their opening game against Australia in Sydney on July 20.
Both teams had initially invited Irish media to observe the game, but at the last minute, a Colombian team official, supported by a local FIFA representative, denied access to the media. The Colombians responded with their own statement, explaining that the Irish team decided not to continue playing when 23 minutes of the first half had already elapsed. They expressed their respect for Ireland’s decision and announced their plans to return to Sydney for further preparation and a second friendly training match against China before the start of the World Cup.
This injury comes as another blow to the Irish team, as they had already experienced an injury scare in their farewell defeat to France in Tallaght. Captain Katie McCabe had to be taken off the field twice due to ankle trouble. However, McCabe has fully participated in training since arriving in Australia, providing some reassurance for the team ahead of their upcoming matches.
The Irish team will now have to regroup and adjust their game plan without the presence of Denise O’Sullivan, who has been an instrumental player for the team. The extent of her injury and the timeline for her recovery will be crucial factors in determining her availability for the World Cup matches. The team and their supporters will anxiously await the update from manager Vera Pauw, hoping for positive news and a swift recovery for O’Sullivan.