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Can Ireland's Stephanie Roche beat Van Persie and Ibramihovic to the Puskas Award?

With the winner decided by public vote, there is no reason why she can’t prevail.

Stephanie Roche scored her wonder goal against Wexford Youths in the Irish Women’s National League.
Stephanie Roche scored her wonder goal against Wexford Youths in the Irish Women’s National League.

WHILE THE WINNER of Fifa’s Ballon d’Or is usually fairly easy to predict, the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year 2014 could be handed out to any one of the shortlisted nominees.

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, meaning which of the 10 goals up for decoration will be crowned the most aesthetically pleasing by public vote remains anyone’s guess.

If context is highly valued then James Rodriguez’s spectacular strike for Colombia against Uruguay in the World Cup is a worthy 11/10 front runner with Unibet, having been voted the goal of the tournament last summer.

Similarly, Robin van Persie’s acrobatic diving header against reigning champions Spain in Brazil surely deserves its place as second favourite at 5/1, while Tim Cahill’s emphatic volley against the Dutch for Australia also merits the 6/1 price.

However, if taken purely on face value then Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s characteristically audacious backheeled flick for Paris Saint-Germain against Bastia must surely be in with a chance at 11/1, regardless of its relative insignificance in a routine 4-0 Ligue 1 victory.

Both Pajtim Kasami’s Marco van Basten-esque volley and Diego Costa’s beautifully executed overhead kick are surely dazzling enough to justify their 14/1 odds, despite both arriving in easy victories against modest opposition for Fulham and Atletico Madrid respectively.

If taken purely on face value, though, surely nothing can match the refined splendour of Stephanie Roche’s outrageous strike for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in the Irish Women’s National League.

Receiving the ball from wide on the edge of the box with instant control, the 25-year-old flicked the ball over the bemused defender’s head to lash a perfect volley into the far corner of the net, prompting instant adulation from across the internet.

With a viral campaign on her side and the whole of the Republic of Ireland adding their support, odds of 19/1 are surely worth backing on the only woman on the list bringing home an award previously won by the likes of Ibrahimovic, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

By Al Hain-Cole, Goal.com

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