By David Hennessy
The Irish team mate of Laura Bassett has told The Irish World how she is supporting her club team mate and that she is sure Bassett will bounce back from scoring the freak own goal that knocked England out of the women’s world cup at the semi-final stage.
Fiona O’Sullivan plays for Notts County and the Republic of Ireland. She described England’s World Cup exits as the cruellest sporting incident she has ever seen.
England reached the last four of the women’s World Cup with victories over Norway and Canada. They were heading for extra-time in the semi-final when Bassett lunged to block a cross but deflected the ball into her own net.
Fiona told The Irish World: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a heartbreaking end to any kind of sports match. I’m not even that type of person but I actually started crying after it happened.
“Laura Bassett is captain of my team and a friend of mine. She’s been very good to me over in England so I was just shocked. I’ve never seen anything so cruel to be honest. I’m just sending her lots of support.”
Fiona is also sure the England centre back will bounce back: “All of us have to pick ourselves up sometimes no matter what age or what level. I think it was a touching moment for a lot of people.
“There’s a reason Laura Bassett’s our captain. She’s a very tough person and I’ve no doubt that she’ll be able to pick herself up again. I don’t think she’ll ever forget that moment though for the rest of her life. She’ll be able to move on. I’m not worried at all.”
Five of Fiona’s Notts County team mates were part of the Lionesses’ world cup adventure: “I’m very proud of my team mates. What they have done is great. They have gone a lot further than any other English team have got in a long time.”
Fiona also thinks Republic of Ireland can be inspired by England’s successful World Cup in their bid to reach the European Championships in 2017: “We were really close in the last qualifying campaign so we’re right there, it’s really just taking it that next step, that next level, maybe having a bit of luck too.
“I don’t know if any of us realised that England would get this far to be perfectly honest. I think it’s given us a lot of confidence and motivation. It’s kind of that mentality, ‘I played with that girl last Sunday, now she’s in the third placed game for the World Cup’. I can definitely do this.”
Fiona will be playing at Wembley Stadium on August 1 when Notts County take on Chelsea in the FA Women’s Cup final: “Playing at Wembley is an absolute dream. It’s just one of those iconic places you always dream about playing at. I’m absolutely delighted to be playing there and delighted to joining back up with all my team mates again so looking forward to it.
It’s the first time they’ve had the women’s final at Wembley so it’s a historic day in a lot of ways. I’m glad to be part of it.”