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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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Key Ireland midfielder O'Sullivan helps US side past Lyon to historic silverware

North Carolina Courage lifted the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup crown.

IT WAS A weekend to remember for Ireland international Denise O’Sullivan as she helped her North Carolina Courage side win the first-ever Women’s International Champions Cup (ICC).

denise O'Sullivan celebrates with her NC Courage team-mates. Source: International Champions Cup Women's Tournament.

The US outfit edged past five-time Uefa Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais to claim the silverware, the final score in a hard-fought decider at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens reading 1-0.

Three-time Olympic champion Heather O’Reilly scored the decisive goal — and her first for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side – which came after just 10 minutes of action in the showpiece.

And while NC Courage were put under the pump by Lyon, they did just enough to hold on.

Cork native O’Sullivan played the 90 minutes, impressing throughout, just as she did in the preceding clash against PSG — in which Courage won 2-1. “Proud,” the midfielder  tweeted after.

Since joining from Houston Dash, O’Sullivan has been a big name at the club and signed a new deal in January.

“We unearthed a gem in Sulli,” manager Paul Riley said at the time, before telling The42 in April:

“She’s just been outstanding for us and got better and better. Her work-rate is out of this world. She covers 12,000 metres a game. She’s an absolute monster for that stuff. I think she could be one of the best midfielders in the world.

“She’s a good leader too, I can imagine her being a very good leader for the Irish international team.”

And that she is, and has been through Colin Bell’s charges’ 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Their dream of reaching the finals in France was dashed last month with the wait to reach a first-ever major tournament ongoing, but O’Sullivan was most definitely one shining light throughout.

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Emma Duffy

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