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'I just hope people vote' - Roche aiming for Fifa Puskas Award glory

We spoke to the Ireland striker hoping to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

Roche is an Ireland international.
Roche is an Ireland international.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, ROBIN van Persie, Diego Costa, James Rodriguez… Stephanie Roche.

That’s a glimpse at some of the names on the ten-strong list of nominations for this year’s Fifa Puskas Award — the annual prize handed out for the best goal in world football.

13 months ago, a YouTube clip of the Womens National League game between Peamount United and Wexford Youths went viral thanks to Irish striker Roche’s out-of-this-world finish.

The 25-year-old became a bit of a celebrity as praise for the outrageous goal, which has currently got just shy of three million hits, came pouring in.

She has since moved on with life and her football career, leaving Peamount for ASPTT Albi in the French Division 1, but this week was informed that the volley has made the Fifa’s shortlist.

“The goal was a year ago and not that I had forgotten about it but I had put it to the back of my mind,” Roche told The Score today. “So for this to happen has brought it all up again.

“The support I’ve been getting has been unbelievable. People who are following me on Twitter are retweeting everything and trying to get me as many votes as possible. It has been great.

“I’m representing Ireland at something that is so prestigious and the Irish people have been getting behind me.”

Source: eileen gleeson/YouTube

Online campaigns have begun for Roche as ten will be cut to the top three when the poll closes on 1 December. The three remaining players will then be invited along to the Ballon d’Or awards on 12 January where the winner will be announced.

And Roche says she would relish the chance to travel to Zurich and become both the first ever Irish and the first ever female winner.

“It is unbelievable to be named alongside those type of players and to maybe be in with a shout of getting an award ahead of them,” she said.

I just hope that people vote so I can get into the last three and go to the awards. It would be an unbelievable experience and something I would love to say I’ve done.”

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Having moved to France in July, Roche admits finding it initially difficult to adjust to her new life but adds that she is beginning to settle and find her feet on the pitch.

“It has taken me a while with the language barrier and it has been different to Ireland but I’m getting there. I played on Saturday and had a really good game so I just want to cement my place in the team now and go from there.

“We’re sixth in the table at the minute and we’ve played the four top teams so we’ve done quite well. We’re on a run of games the next few weeks that we need to start winning and I think we will.”

YOU CAN VOTE FOR STEPHANIE’S GOAL HERE

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Ben Blake

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