Golden girl Stephanie turns heads but wonder goal comes up just short
An emotional Stephanie Roche told the chance video of her 'golden boot' goal had brought her global acclaim she could never have dreamed of.
The 25-year-old may have lost out in the competition for the goal of the year at the glitzy FIFA Puskas Award ceremony in Zurich but she was delighted to attract 33pc of the overall votes cast by the public.
In the end, the prize went to Colombian James Rodriguez for his spectacular World Cup volley in Brazil last summer, while Stephanie managed more votes than Netherlands striker Robin van Persie.
Rodriguez paid the ultimate tribute to the Irish player at the event, saying that her goal was a "golazo (amazing goal)... it deserved to win, but only one can".
Speaking after the event, Stephanie thanked everyone who voted for her. "It has been a crazy, crazy ride. I have done so much stuff that I probably wouldn't have done if it all hadn't of been videoed. It has been brilliant," she said.
"I just want to take the chance to thank everybody back at home who did vote for me, the support has been unbelievable. It has been fantastic for me."
Stephanie turned heads, including those of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as she walked the red carpet on the arm of her proud long-term boyfriend Dean Zambra.
Stephanie had made it to the final three of the competition for the best goal, after her sensational score for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in 2013 was captured on video.
Junior Sports Minister Michael Ring last night said that the talented Dublin woman has done her country proud.
"She thoroughly deserves all the praise she has received and I am sure she is a little disappointed but she should be very proud of her achievement," he added. FAI chief Joh n Delaney described her feat as "a truly incredible achievement".
Meanwhile, broadcaster Ivan Yates drew criticism yesterday after he branded her inclusion in the final three as "tokenism". Sue Ronan, the head coach of the international women's side, said she had not heard Mr Yates comments but believed Stephanie's inclusion was "absolutely not" tokenism. Stephanie will today fly to Spain to join the international women's team at a training camp as part of their preparations for Euro 2017 qualifiers.