Friday 16 November 2018

Pukás wonder goal scorer Stephanie lined out for Dundalk City in her day

NOrmally the winner of the Fifa Puskás Award wouldn't raise in an eyebrow in our house. I couldn't name any of the previous winners and apart from a quick Youtube search by one of the football mad younger members of the family I wouldn't have seen many of the contenders for this year's award, the winner of which will be announced in Zurich next Monday night.

There is one very obvious exception to this general statement however and that is the goal scored by Irish international Stephanie Roche when playing for Peamount United last October.

Her goal, captured on a camcorder from distance has been a worldwide interned sensation and has been viewed more than a million times.

Stephanie formerly played with Dundalk City in the mid 2000's and is up against two strikes from two of the world's top strikers, James Rodriquez and Robin Van Persie, scoring for Columbia and Netherlands in last summer's World Cup in Brazil.

The 28-times capped international was a part of Tommy Tasker's Dundalk City Ladies side from 2007-2009.

Stephanie joined the club shortly after City's split with Dundalk FC having struck up a friendship with fellow Irish underage star and local girl Grace Murray, from Ard Easmuinn.

Her goal is a stunning strike with sublime skill and compares very well with the other two contenders. The scorer has received huge media interest since being short listed amongst the original ten finalists, with high praise from former professional footballers such as Arsenal's Ian Wright describing it as one of the best goals he has ever seen.

Next Monday night Roche will not only share the stage with Rodriquez and Van Persie who play for Real Madrid and Manchester United two of the biggest clubs in the world, but also Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer shortlisted for FIFA's Ballon d'Or.

To be in such company is a great thrill for Roche and just recognition for a wonderful goal, which deserves it's place in the short list on merit.

Roche showed her undoubted goalscoring prowess when she scored twice on her debut for Dundalk City in a 5-2 win over Waterford Benfica in the summer of 2007 and will no doubt be hoping for a little local support as voting closes on the FIFA website on Monday

Irish Independent