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Aiming for Ireland recall behind Roche move

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Stephaine Roche

Stephaine Roche

Stephaine Roche

Republic of Ireland footballer Stephanie Roche has left Italian team Florentia and returned home to rejoin Peamount United.

Peamount - with whom Roche scored the famous goal that was nominated for Fifa's Puskas award - will be hoping to defend their National League title when the season gets underway next month.

"I knew the international clearance to come back here was February 22," explained Roche, speaking at the launch of the No Barriers 2020 project.

"So I said I would stay until close to that. I knew that I had to make my decision quick. It wasn't easy, because I did enjoy my time there.

"At the same time, I've had so many opportunities in Ireland and things I was working on behind the scenes that it couldn't wait much longer.

"Football is obviously a huge part of my life and I'm still going to be fully committed to being as professional as I possibly can.

"But I also have to think about the next step in my life and my career, in terms of away from football."

Roche, who has played with several clubs overseas during her career, missed out on selection for Vera Pauw's Ireland squad for the two upcoming UEFA Women's Euro 2021 qualifiers, against Greece and Montenegro.

It was tough for the Dubliner not to make the squad but she hasn't given up hope of future selection.

"I was very disappointed when she rang me and we had that conversation. At that moment, I was thinking 'for God's sake, why is she leaving me out', but the more I thought about it, the more I understand it.

"She's coming in as a new manager, she's looking at the last campaign and I haven't played in it. So I have to understand that she hasn't had the chance to see me play properly.

"When you're in camp, yes you train but the focus is different, it's on the games coming up, not looking at every individual player. For me it's about making sure that I don't give her the option to leave me out again. If I can get a good run of games, I think I can show what I can do and how I can fit in her squad."

Revealed

Roche also revealed that she spoke with Pauw ahead of making her decision to come back to Ireland, and the international women's manager was happy for her to return to the National League.

"Yeah, I had the conversation with her. Vera seemed quite understanding in terms of if you are happy playing, then it is better than being away and not being happy.

"Obviously, I have been away from my boyfriend and my family for what, eight years now.

"And over the last year, there was a lot that happened.

"I don't want to talk bad about the club or anything, I finished on good terms, but there was a lot of stuff that didn't go the way I wanted it to go.

"And I came to the realisation that it wasn't for me.

"I played a football match yesterday and it was the first time I enjoyed a football match in about two years, so I just need to get back to doing that, enjoying my football and that will improve me as a footballer when I do get back in the Irish team."


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