Friday 22 February 2019

'Stephanie will always be our number one' - family and friends beam with pride after FIFA awards

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Family, friends and hundreds of people from Irish football hero Stephanie Roche's community expressed their pride after her goal was voted the second best of last year.

She was beaten to the top spot for the FIFA Puskas award by Colombian James Rodriguez.

Results from the award tonight showed that she scooped 33pc of the votes, well ahead of Netherlands striker Robin Van Persie's 11pc. However, Rodriguez secured 42pc.

Hundreds of people gathered with Stephanie's family at Brady's Pub in Shankill for the event and her mother Anne said afterwards that she couldn't have been prouder.

"I'm very proud of my daughter, I'm the proudest mammy in Ireland. She's up there with the top three and she's as good as any of them," she said.

"She's still a winner to me anyway," she added.

Stephanie Roche's mum Anne with her son Paul, Peter Vaughan, daughter Sinead and friend Amy Patton at Brady's pub in Shankhill to support Stephanie for the Puskas Award
Stephanie Roche's mum Anne with her son Paul, Peter Vaughan, daughter Sinead and friend Amy Patton at Brady's pub in Shankhill to support Stephanie for the Puskas Award

There were cheers at each moment that Roche appeared on the big screen and the general feeling in Brady's was that her goal was better, but that she was outvoted by a nation of almost 50 million people.

Irish international rugby star Shane Byrne was among those to share that sentiment. "Very, very disappointed. It was the best goal by a mile," he said.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring described the footballer as a "wonderful ambassador".

"She thoroughly deserves all the praise she has received and I am sure she is a little disappointed but she should be very proud of her achievement," he said.

"It was wonderful to see the global attention that Stephanie received since she was shortlisted for the award along with such global superstars as Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez. I have no doubt that all her family and friends and the whole country are delighted and proud of her achievement."

"Stephanie has been a wonderful ambassador for her sport and her country since being nominated for the award. The publicity that it has generated for the profile of the Women’s National League and Irish women’s sport in general is very welcome.”

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