In praise of . . . Stephanie Roche

Irish woman’s wonder goal sees her face off with Van Persie, Ibrahimovic and Costa

Republic of Ireland’s Stephanie Roche: will be up against some of the top stars in the game for Fifa’s Goal of the Year award. Photograph: Inpho

As you browsed through the list of nominees announced this week for Fifa's Puskas Award, granted to the scorer of world football's finest goal in the last year, the usual suspects were there, among them award holder Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris St Germain), Robin van Persie (Netherlands/Manchester United), Diego Costa (Spain/Chelsea) and James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid).

But in the middle of them all, the only Irish player, the only woman: Stephanie Roche, for her wonder goal scored for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in the Bus Eireann National League.

"I couldn't believe it," said the Dubliner, who now plays her football in France for ASPTT Albi in the top flight of their league, having discovered the news when her Twitter notifications had gone "mad".

Roche's goal, scored in October of last year, became an internet sensation when it was posted on YouTube by her then Peamount manager Eileen Gleeson, and helped by the Twitter swooning over its brilliance by Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan, amongst others, it now has over 2.5 million hits.


“The reaction was incredible,” said the Irish international, “and all the attention the goal got at the time really helped promote the women’s game, which I was delighted about. And now this is a great boost too, so it’s brilliant.”

The winner of the poll will be announced in January, and it's an internet vote too, so it's very easy to have your voice heard (wink, nudge) at

By yesterday, most of the country’s politicians, sports people and assorted celebrities were urging their Twitter followers to do the right thing, even Nidge from Love/Hate, despite him not being in the best of shape after the final episode of the series.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times