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Cork's O'Sullivan into another US final, Keenan shines for Celtic, and United stun City

Some of the weekend’s interesting stories for Irish women’s football stars overseas.

WOMEN Keeva Keenan and Denise O'Sullivan. Source: Celtic FC/PA Images.

IRELAND MIDFIELD MAESTRO Denise O’Sullivan is into another National Women’s Soccer League [NWSL] Championship final with US outfit North Carolina Courage after a 4-1 extra-time win over Seattle Reign FC.

Level 1-1 after 90 minutes, defending champions NC Courage put US World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe’s side to the sword in the extra period to advance to another decider. Cork native O’Sullivan played 101 minutes, and as per usual, was instrumental throughout.

Earlier this month, the 25-year-old ace was named the US side’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year.

denise Source: NWSL/ESPN Player.

In Scotland, Ireland defender Keeva Keenan was on fire for Celtic. Keenan was named Player of the Match after contributing a goal and an assist in a 5-0 win over Motherwell. 

The Dubliner fired home a 64th-minute stunner, after bombing forward, cutting in and placing her shot high into side netting.

22-year-old Keenan made her full international senior debut under Vera Pauw in the recent 3-2 Euro 2021 qualifier win over Ukraine at Tallaght Stadium recently.

Elsewhere in Scotland this weekend, Cork’s Clare Shine was on the Glasgow City bench as they closed in on 13 Scottish League titles in-a-row. Beat Motherwell on Wednesday night, and they’re crowned champions.

In England, Manchester United produced a Continental League Cup shock as they were triumphant in the derby and ended City’s perfect start to the domestic season. 

United, newcomers to the Women’s Super League [WSL] after winning the second-tier Championship last season, were 2-0 winners over leaders City — who had won their opening five league games — in their Group C clash.

Ireland defender Megan Campbell played 90 minutes for City, while 18-year-old Tyler Toland was an unused substitute.

Casey Stoney’s United had the dream start as Katie Zelem’s seventh-minute free-kick soared into the top corner at Leight Sports Village. And the hosts doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half after Jess Sigsworth slid in and got on the end of Kirsty Hanson’s cross.

A straight red card for Keira Walsh’s tackle on Hanson added to City’s woe, as United moved level on points in Group C, despite having played a game less. Both are three points behind Birmingham with the pool blown wide open. 

United also exacted sweet revenge after City’s 1-0 win in their WSL opener in September.

It took a penalty shoot-out to separate Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham after the game ended 2-2 after a dramatic 90-plus minutes.

There was disappointment for Irish involvement as the Hammers were beaten 4-2 in spot kicks. 23-year-old goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was on the bench for the Hammers, but the returning Leanne Kiernan wasn’t included in West Ham’s matchday 15.

0-0 at half-time at Rush Green Stadium, Rianna Dean gave Spurs the lead seven minutes after the restart before Josie Green doubled their dominance on the scoreboard.

A crazy late, late comeback ensued with Martha Tomas making it 2-1 in the 91st minute. And then Kenza Dali sent the game to penalties in the 94th, her incredible free-kick from the edge of the box finding the top corner. 

Louise Quinn made it 50 starts at Arsenal as they beat Charlton 4-0 at Meadow Park to maintain their place atop Group B. Girls In Green captain Katie McCabe came on in the 72nd minute, as Danielle van de Donk (two), Jen Beattie and Beth Mead were on target.

Liverpool beat Coventry United 5-1, Birmingham put Leicester City to the sword on the same scoreline, while Chelsea were 3-0 winners over Crystal Palace.

No Irish players were involved in those fixtures, with Ireland star and Liverpool vice-captain Niamh Fahey not included in the Reds squad and Harriet Scott not featuring for Birmingham.

Likewise, goalkeeper Grace Moloney missed Reading’s 3-2 win over Championship side Lewes and Megan Connolly wasn’t involved for Brighton and Hove Albion’s 2-1 defeat to Bristol City.

On Friday night Stateside, Heather Payne scored her second goal of the season for Florida State as they beat rivals Miami 3-0 on home soil.

And in other interesting news this weekend, Pauw’s predecessor Colin Bell has taken up a new job in football as the South Korea women’s manager.

He left the Ireland set-up in late June to take up a role at Huddersfield.

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Emma Duffy

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