Ireland's Denise O'Sullivan believes that the current Ireland women's football team can exceed expectations due to the level of talent in the current squad.
This week, Ireland will play Hungary in what is essentially a dead rubber. They have already qualified from their Nations League group, and with that, they will have a much better chance of making it to another tournament in 2025.
O'Sullivan, one of Ireland's key performers at the Women's World Cup last summer expects the games to get harder, but also admits that it is nothing that the current generation of Irish players can't handle.
"Going into the Euros [qualifiers], obviously, it's going to be really tough again, but as a group, we're always looking to improve within every game," she said.
"Knowing the potential that we do have in the group; I think we can go on and do good things in the Euros. It’s going to be hugely tough, but as I said, we have exceptional players. It’s probably one of the best squads we’ve had in a long time, so we will want to do better for sure."
Progression into League A will see the likes of Ireland play England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. These games are the types of games that you live for as a pro, claimed the Cork native.
"I think as a professional player, they're the teams that you want to be playing," she added.
"You want to be playing the best in the world because that's how you're going to improve, and that's how you're going to really test yourself. We're really excited to be doing that, and we're very happy that we got promoted.
"But as I said, we will be focusing on ourselves these last two games and really putting in very, very good performances and getting six points, hopefully."
Ireland's interim manager, Eileen Gleeson, is unbeaten since taking over from former manager Vera Pauw. There is clamour to have Gleeson take up the role full-time, but this has been knocked back every time it has come up in earlier press conferences.
Pauw's management came under fire for strict tactics, and it eventually broke down. Although the players didn't admit Pauw was an issue directly, there is a new energy in the Ireland camp. O'Sullivan wants whoever takes over the role, whether it be Gleeson or another person, to keep that positive energy intact for the good of future Ireland camps and squads.
“I think it is massively important to have a leader, someone you look up to and who brings your attention, draws you in,” she said.
“Outside of that, someone who brings a positive environment. I think once you create a good environment within the national team and gain the respect of everyone, I think the team will push on.
“So, I think that is massively important as well. Whoever comes in and whoever takes over, we’ll respect it, respect the decision. Our job is to go out and perform on the pitch.”
Ireland plays Hungary at 7:30pm tomorrow.