After suffering the low point of her career, Ireland women’s team midfielder Denise O’Sullivan is hoping a miracle can deliver her the highest.
The Cork native, along with her teammates, was visibly upset on the Obolon Arena pitch four weeks after Ukraine inflicted a 1-0 defeat in Ireland’s penultimate European Championship qualifier.
Vera Pauw’s side had been strongly expected to extract the required draw from a side they had already beaten to nail down a play-off for the delayed finals in 2022.
Between scoring a goal and missing a penalty, which O’Sullivan earned, things didn’t go to plan in Kiev, the loss leaving them with the toughest of all tasks to rescue their play-off hopes.
Ireland must better Ukraine’s results in next Tuesday’s concluding series of fixtures. As the prospects of their conquerors slipping up at lowly Montenegro are remote, the Irish must produce the upset of the entire campaign by beating Germany at Tallaght.
“Losing that night in Ukraine was the most upsetting part of my career,” said the Knocknaheeny native, currently on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion from US champions North Carolina Courage.
“It was absolutely devastating for me and I didn’t get over it until a few weeks later.
“I went back to Brighton and was so down. We weren’t bad on the night but that’s football and these things make you stronger.
“We’re still second in the table and that’s a positive. I’ve come into this camp ready to work hard but we’ve got to be realistic against a German side out of this world.”
Upsets, as was evident on GAA fields last Sunday, still happen in sport.
Germany’s six wins in a row have wrapped up their qualification before their final double-header against Greece and Ireland.
Asked if she believes in miracles, O’Sullivan replied: “Yes, I do. It’s 11 versus 11 and anything can happen.
“We’ll have a game-plan and are looking forward to it.”