One swing of Denise O'Sullivan's boot and Ireland are now potentially a single game away from dreamland.

On Tuesday night, the midfielder's goal meant Vera Pauw's side were able to edge past a stubborn Slovakia outfit and thereby automatically earn a bye to the second round of UEFA's convoluted 2023 World Cup play-off process.

It capped a fine window which had started with a victory over Finland in a high-pressure Tallaght Stadium encounter which in itself had sealed a spot in the play-offs but the follow-up against the Slovakians removes one hurdle and concentrates minds solely to 11 October against yet-to-be-determined opponents who emerge from the first round.

There will be no resting on laurels for Ireland over the next month and certainly for Denise O'Sullivan who mere hours after scoring one of the most important goals in Irish history, was part of the launch of the European Week of Sport.

"A bit tired but obviously the last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster - the highs of the Finland and then trying to get back down to earth again to prepare for the Slovakia game," the North Carolina Courage player told this week's RTÉ Soccer Podcast as she reflected on the individual and collective landmark.

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"But all I can say is that we're absolutely delighted as a squad and I'm just filled with pride and emotion right now."

On Friday, Ireland will have a better idea of what awaits them next month when the play-off draw is made.

Six teams - including Euro 2022 participants Austria, Belgium and Portugal - will be drawn into three ties with the winners advancing to face the three second round nations including Ireland in one-legged fixtures.

The complicated process, taking in previous group results, means only two of the subsequent winners go straight to the World Cup while the third will have to go through an inter-confederation play-off.

But regardless of the eventual opponents the Irish could face, the Cork native feels fear should not be a factor given the development of a team that did the double over Euro 2022 qualifiers Finland and also held Sweden to a draw.

Ambassadors, from left, Zak Moradi, Denise O'Sulivan, David Gillick and Emma Duggan in attendance at the launch of European Week of Sport 2022, in partnership with Sport Ireland

"Obviously getting into the second round is really, really good. No matter what team, it's going to be a high level team and a really tough game," she said.

"But then after hearing that even if we win the game, we could still potentially have to go to New Zealand and that's just mind-blowing to me. But it is what it is [and] I think the most important thing for us is just to focus on this game on the 11th, be prepared as best we can and try and win.

"In this campaign we've been good as a team and I think we can still improve but we've come a long way and we have good momentum now going into this game on the 11th.

"The last four games we've had clean sheets, our back-line has been phenomenal, our goalkeeper has been excellent so we are pretty confident as a team and I don't think we fear anyone now at this stage. But we have a long way to go. It's going to be a tough game."

The area of improvement O'Sullivan and co are targetting is to become even more clinical going forward to supplement the high level of organisation and defensive fortitude.

"I think being more dynamic on the break, picking out passes and trying to make those passes that are tough, so I think they're definite areas of improvement that we can keep working on and try and score more goals as a team."

The 28-year-old has contributed six goals from midfield which makes her Ireland's second top scorer during the campaign just behind Katie McCabe and she is hungry for more.

"I didn't really know coming into this camp whether I would play the deeper role or the 10," said O'Sullivan.

"But I think with some things in the team I was in that position to play the deeper role and that's where Vera wanted me and that was the best for the team so I took that on board and was more of a box-to-box player trying to start that build-up and then try and get forward as well.

"It was a lot of ground to cover and a lot of tough work but I do that for my club week in week out so it's second nature now."

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