It WAS girl-power all the way in Shankill at the weekend when soccer sensation Stephanie Roche was welcomed home by a massive crowd, including Olympic medallist Katie Taylor.
The Irish international finished as runner-up to Real Madrid and Colombia star James Rodriguez for the FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year last week, with her 1.1m votes treble that of the other finalist, Robin van Persie.
Her incredible strike for Peamount United has been seen more than six million times on YouTube and proud locals were keen to toast Stephanie on her return home.
John Brady, owner of Brady's Bar in Shankill, threw a party for family and friends on Saturday night with the star of the moment arriving in a stretch limo.
Katie tweeted a photo of herself and Stephanie smiling together. "Great homecoming for the amazing Stephanie Roche, a class act on an off the field," she wrote.
Roche, who wowed Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the gala awards ceremony in Zurich last week, was later given a bouquet of flowers and a piece of Dublin Crystal by the bar management.
"It was great to look out from the bar and see both Stephanie and Katie chatting together. They are both great ambassadors for their sports and great ambassadors for Ireland," John Brady told the Herald.
Stephanie had appeared on the The Late Late Show on Friday night where she thanked the public for the widespread support, while admitting she was disappointed not to win the award.
"I'd think I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed," she said.
"I think as a footballer and as a sportsperson, you obviously want to win everything you want to go into. But at the same time I was just so proud of the support I got from everybody," she added.
Roche was also at the centre of attention following a picture from the ceremony which showed Cristaino Ronaldo and Lionel Messi focusing their attentions on her.
"I think there might have been something on the ground they were looking at that caught their eye," she joked
"Obviously that photo was going around a lot and my friends texted me directly after the awards to say 'don't be too disappointed, you had two of the best footballers eyeing you up.'"
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