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'I'm really excited for what the future holds for the country': Roche impressed with Ireland's new style

The Sunderland striker reached 50 senior caps for the Girls in Green this week.

Stephanie Roche.
Stephanie Roche.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE STARTED their era under new manager Colin Bell on a high.

Undefeated in the Cyprus Cup, they’ve shown an exciting new style of play under the 55-year-old Englishman, one which is already beginning to pay dividends.

They opened their tournament campaign with a 2-0 win over Czech Republic last Wednesday, and backed it up by holding a strong Hungary side to a scoreless draw two days later.

Renowned striker Stephanie Roche opened their scoring account at the tournament, netting her 13th goal for the national side before earning her 50th cap on Friday.

The Sunderland star is impressed with Ireland’s new manager, and the new-look style of her side.

“It’s been really good so far and I’m really excited for what the future holds for the country,” she told the FAI. “Colin is trying to put down some foundations and letting us know exactly what he wants from us.

I just want to keep getting more caps and with Colin as the new manager who has brought in a new style of play, I just want to be around for a lot longer.”

Roche, of course, is widely known for hitting the headlines as she scored a wonder goal for Peamount in 2013. It was subsequently nominated for a Puskas award but she lost out to James Rodriguez for the 2014 accolade.

There’s been no shortage of goals for the Dubliner since then.

The 27-year-old was delighted to get on the scoresheet last week, on her way to playing every minute of Ireland’s Cyprus Cup campaign so far.

Stephanie Roche celebrates scoring a goal with Leanne Kiernan, Karen Duggan and Denise O'Sullivan Roche celebrates scoring in November with her teammates. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“When I score a goal, I think I show how passionate I am about playing for the national team. I think we all show how passionate we are to play for the national side.

“I think it comes with the Irish-ness in us that everybody knows that playing for your country is one of the best things you can do. It feels like your first cap every time you play.”

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Having earned her first senior cap in October 2008, Roche hit the 50-cap milestone this week.

“I’m very proud to reach 50 caps, it’s been a long time coming but it’s excellent for me and my family.

“I started playing with the Under-17s side when I was 14 so I’ve been around the international set-up quite a while. I always had that belief that I could get into the senior team when I was younger.

“Obviously, getting into the team was a great moment for me and now I’ve got 50 caps, that is something I can be really proud of.”

But like any great sportsperson, she doesn’t dwell on the past.

Her focus immediately turns to the future of Irish soccer and winning more and more caps under Colin Bell.

Colin Bell Colin Bell. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland now face Wales tomorrow, in a fixture which will determine who tops Group C.

It’s a test Roche is relishing: “Wales have got a very good squad and have some excellent players. We played them in August with an under-strength squad and did well so with a few of our more familiar faces back.

We’re looking forward to the game, it’s going to be a big test and we want to win the group.”

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Emma Duffy

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