Professional footballer, Denise O’Sullivan, has been chosen as Cork Person of the Month for January in honour of her sporting achievements on the international stage.
Denise has over 98 international caps for the Republic of Ireland, and has scored 19 goals for the team. Denise was instrumental to the team’s run of strong performances that saw them beat Scotland and qualify for the World Cup last October. She was named FAI Senior International Player of the Year in 2015, made the RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year shortlist in 2019, and won The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month in November of 2019.
Denise is widely regarded as one of the best footballers currently playing. In December of 2019, Denise featured in The Guardian’s 100 Best Female Footballers in the World. She is a pioneer of women’s football in Ireland and an inspiration to fans across the globe.
While Denise’s individual brilliance on the pitch is clear to see, she is always humble and looks to highlight the fact football is a team sport. Denise said, “It’s a total squad effort, there’s so many games throughout the year, every individual must play their part.” Speaking of Ireland qualifying for the World Cup for the first time, Denise said, “It’s a fantastic achievement for the whole team and a proud moment for the country.”
Denise was born and reared in Knocknaheeny on the northside of Cork City, developing her skills as a kid by playing street football with friends and siblings. She started her career with Wilton United, and subsequently joined the newly-formed Cork City at the outset of the Women’s National League (WNL) in 2011. She also played for Dublin’s Peamount United in its 2011 and 2012 UEFA Women’s Champions League campaigns, before making the move to Glasgow City in 2013.
While Denise is now an international star, she has not forgotten her Cork roots. Denise said, “I started off with Nufarm Athletic in Knocknaheeny, I also used to play a lot of tournaments behind our local school with the youth club. I’ve so many good memories, I might be miles and miles away but I never forget where I came from. The support I’ve had since I left has been absolutely fantastic and the people are so kind here. It has been a big part of my career and helped me get to where I am now.”
After a successful spell in Glasgow, which included being named the Scottish Women’s Premier League ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ in 2014. Denise made the move to the US with Houston Dash in March of 2016. The following year, she signed with North Carolina Courage and has since helped the team win two consecutive National Women’s Soccer League Championships. At North Carolina, O’Sullivan was voted most valuable player (MVP) by her teammates in both 2018 and 2019.
The World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand in mid-July next, when Ireland’s group matches are against Australia, Canada and Nigeria. Ireland will have a warm-up match against France on July 6th at Tallagh Stadium.
Denise’s name will now go forward alongside the other monthly winners for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at the annual Gala Awards Lunch in January, 2024.