The 22-year-old Knocknaheeny native has just completed her first season with US outfit Houston Dash, having started 14 of their 20 league games. The same club which ended Stephanie Roche’s stay after three months.
While women’s soccer in Ireland continues to grow, O’Sullivan has no regrets about leaving these shores having started her career in the Women’s National League in 2011 with Cork City Women’s, then known as Cork Women’s.
“I will never regret leaving,” explained O’Sullivan, who moved to Glasgow City in 2013. “I went to Glasgow and played in the Champions League and I think that’s where I started to get noticed.”
The 51-time capped senior international does believe that the domestic standard is on the rise, however.
“I think Ireland is becoming better and better and the league is getting better. It’s no harm staying in Ireland and getting the experience under your belt and then when you go somewhere else, England or America, they are all huge leagues it’s just fantastic to be a part of.”
“At Houston, we get about 6,000 at the game on average, the maximum in the league is 22,000, that’s Portland, their men’s team is huge,” added O’Sullivan the average attendance in the English league being 1,128.
While happy to declare she made the right decision in moving abroad, O’Sullivan still keeps her eyes on things in Ireland, remaining in touch with her former Cork City Women’s team mates.
While regular updates are provided by Angie Carey, the re-signing of 10 time All-Ireland Gaelic football winner Valerie Mulcahy makes O’Sullivan brim with excitement.
“That was a brilliant boost, Valerie is a very good player. I played with her the first year I was on the first team, she’s so fit, she would run for you all day.
“I have some very good friends there, I meet up with them and when I came back last year, I trained with them and as a club they are getting better and better.”
This year was a rollercoaster for the 22-year-old. The youngest in a family of five, Denise signed for Houston just four days after her father John lost his short battle with cancer.
O’Sullivan, a danger midfielder or forward, continues to impress on the pitch. Outgoing Irish boss Sue Ronan gave her a senior international debut five years ago. Ronan will become head of women’s football development with the FAI after Saturday’s friendly international against the Basque Country XI in Tallaght Stadium.
“Sue has been a big part of my career. I was 17 when she called me into the senior squad for my debut against Wales and I’m very grateful for that and I wish her all the best.”