Roche and Reid complete line-up for Sportswoman of Year award
Peamount United player and triathlete join impressive list of monthly winners
Soccer player Stephanie Roche of Peamount United, who is shortlisted for Fifa’s Puskas Goal of the Year Award, was joint winner of the Sportswoman of the Month Award for November. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Triathlete Aileen Reid, who was joint winner of the Sportswoman of the Month Award for November, finishes the Elite Women’s Series race in the Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Triathlon in Auckland, New Zealand. Photograph: Fiona Goodall/Photosport/Inpho
It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the end of 2014 when it seems like a wet week since it started. But it’s trickier still to accept that the Sportswoman of the Year Award are now in their 11th year when it doesn’t seem like a wet month since they got under way.
On December 19 we’ll be updating the list of winners that so far features: jockey Cathy Gannon (2004), camogie and Gaelic football’s Briege Corkery (2005), athlete Derval O’Rourke (2006), boxer Katie Taylor (2007, 2008 and 2012), athlete Olive Loughnane (2009), swimmer Grainne Murphy (2010), jockey Nina Carberry (2011) and, last year, Irish rugby captain Fiona Coghlan.
Joint winnersStephanie Roche
It’s most definitely a first for us to give a monthly award to a sportswoman whose glittering moment actually happened more than a year before. However, since being nominated for Fifa’s Puskas Goal of the Year Award and then making it to the final three, Roche has probably done as much for the promotion of women’s soccer as any other player in the game.
“You made all the world happy with your marvellous goal and I am cheering for you because you deserve a lot,” said David Luiz in a Vine (a mini video, for us uninitiated folk) message to the Dubliner this week. The Brazilian international is just the latest big name to hail her wonder goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths.
Roche, who moved to France during the summer to play with ASPTT Albi in the top flight of their league, fulfilling her dream of being a professional footballer, will travel to Zurich in January for the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Should she see off James Rodríguez and Robin van Persie, she will become the first woman and first Irish player to win the Puskas award.
Sharing the November award with Roche is another Irish sportswoman who had a memorable year. Triathlete Aileen Reid (formerly Morrison) recovered from a bike accident and subsequent back problems to finish eighth in the world rankings. The highlight of her season was a fifth place finish in the concluding Grand Final event in the World Triathlon Series in Canada.
With Rio 2016 in her sights, it was another encouraging year for the Derry woman. She produced a level of consistency –three top 10 finishes in her last four World Series events – which she never imagined in January when she was unable to train while recuperating.
At that point she must have doubted whether she would make the summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but she did – and finished sixth in the individual event, 50 seconds behind the winner. She also helped the Northern Ireland team to sixth place.
Roche and Reid complete our list of monthly award winners. All that’s left to do is pick our 2014 Sportswoman of the Year. Easier said than done.