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Roche hoping to bank FIFA Puskas award in Zurich

ZURICH-BOUND Stephanie Roche has a good reason for missing the start of a training camp in Spain today for the Irish women's international side.

And manager Sue Ronan hopes that Roche has something tangible to show for all her recent publicity, Roche due on stage at FIFA HQ in Switzerland tonight hoping to land the Puskas goal of the year award ahead of fellow nominees James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie.

Ronan is taking the squad to La Manga for a training camp as preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign but Roche will report for duty tomorrow, her presence required at those FIFA awards.

Interest in Roche and her bid to win the award ahead of Rodriguez and van Persie is intense - at Friday's awards night in Dublin for the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association of Ireland, Roy Keane sought out Roche to have a word and send his good wishes to the Irish international.

Many fans at home will be able to see how Roche fares in the awards as RTE are showing the event live on their player service and on the RTE website (5.30pm), and manager Ronan says she will be cheering on Roche from the squad's Spanish base. "I don't think I am biased when I say it is the best of goal of the three," Ronan says of Roche's presence on that three-person shortlist.

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"The technical ability that she showed to score the goal - to control the cross, beat her defender and score - was fantastic and I think the more people around the world see it, the more they will realise it is the best goal and I hope she joins us in La Manga with a trophy."

Roche won a place on the three-strong shortlist from an initial panel of 10 goals and she feels she is in good company with Van Persie and Rodriguez.

"They're both fantastic footballers and playing at a higher level than me. But to be chosen ahead of their goals is unbelievable," she says.

"I'm quite excited about the ceremony now. I haven't had much time to think about it over the last few months, I've just been doing all I can to promote the goal."


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