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Phone ‘hasn’t stopped ringing’ since my goal made FIFA’s top three - Stephanie

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Republic of Ireland women's national team striker Stephanie Roche's goal has been named in the top three goals for the 2014 FIFA Puskás goal of the year alongside goals from James Rodriguez and Robin Van Persie.

Republic of Ireland women's national team striker Stephanie Roche's goal has been named in the top three goals for the 2014 FIFA Puskás goal of the year alongside goals from James Rodriguez and Robin Van Persie.

Stephanie Roche goal

Stephanie Roche goal

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Republic of Ireland women's national team striker Stephanie Roche's goal has been named in the top three goals for the 2014 FIFA Puskás goal of the year alongside goals from James Rodriguez and Robin Van Persie.

Ireland’s Stephanie Roche said her phone hasn’t stopped ringing since she reached the final three in FIFA’s goal of the year competition.

The 25-year-old Dubliner beat the likes of Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chelsea’s Diego Costa to make the shortlist for the wonder goal she scored when she played for Peamount United.

Now she’s up against Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez for the honour.

Stephanie said today that it has been a “crazy few weeks”.

“When my name came up I just jumped up out of my chair,” she said. “I looked around and everyone was just looking at me. It’s just such a great feeling.

Stephanie said she has been contacted by thousands of well-wishers and celebs eager to see her succeed.

“There are too many to even talk about to be honest with you,” she said. “Paul McGrath was one. He tweeted me last week saying I have to win it,

“It is just a bit surreal at the minute to be honest with you, my phone hasn’t stopped since the top three were  announced yesterday.

“It hasn’t sunk in just yet and I don’t think it will until I get home for Christmas and see all my family and friends.”

There has been a massive online campaign to get the Irish public to vote for the rising star’s goal, which she scored in her former side’s 6-1 victory over Wexford Youths in October last year.

A high ball was played in to her just outside the penalty area and, with her back to goal, she controlled the ball with her first touch, dinked it over her marker with the second touch before smashing it into the top right-hand corner of the net.

It became a viral hit after clocking up more than three million views on YouTube.

“The reception I’ve received over the last while has been brilliant,” said Stephanie.

“The one thing the Irish are really good at is getting behind people, and the way the public got behind me for the nomination makes me proud to be Irish.”

Stephanie also thanked her club, ASPTT Albi, who play in France’s Feminine Division 1, for the support they showed in the lead-up to the announcement.

“The club have been great, they even put the FIFA announcement on a television in the team’s dressing room after training,” she said.

The striker also described her delight at being “recognised for such a prestigious award” and added that reaching the final three is “great for Ireland and great for women’s football”.

Stephanie will join Manchester United’s van Persie and Real Madrid’s Rodriguez on January 12 at the FIFA Balon D’or Gala in Zurich, where it will be decided who wins the Ferenc Puskas Award.

The voting remains open to the public until January 12.

hnews@herald.ie


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