Republic of Ireland sweating on fitness of Denise O’Sullivan ahead of opener


Republic of Ireland midfielder Denise O’Sullivan is in a fitness race ahead of her side’s World Cup opener after she sustained a soft tissue and bone bruise injury to her lower leg, manager Vera Pauw has said.

O’Sullivan was taken to hospital after the Republic’s friendly with Colombia on Friday was aborted after 20 minutes due to what the Football Association of Ireland later described in a statement as an “overly physical” contest.

An initial scan revealed the North Carolina Courage captain had not suffered any fractures, but Pauw would not make any predictions about whether or not O’Sullivan would be ready to start against Australia on Thursday night.

Speaking during the Republic’s training session in Brisbane on Monday, Pauw said: “We decided to be completely open about it, I’ve asked her if that was possible and she’s OK with that.

“She’s off the boot and she’s been walking around. She’s going to do the bands now, core stability, then we start to run with her and we see where she is.

“We will only know more after today and then we need to make it step-by-step and we work towards it, and if not it’s not, and if so then everybody is happy I think.

“It’s a soft tissue and bone bruise, so it depends also on how much pain it is and how much she can bear and not getting other injuries with that, but the first thing is can she run on it? And you don’t know until you do it.”

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