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‘I asked her were we wasting our time here?’ – Stephanie Roche on her three-year exile from Republic of Ireland

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Stephanie Roche during a Republic of Ireland training session at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Stephanie Roche during a Republic of Ireland training session at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Stephanie Roche during a Republic of Ireland training session at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown yesterday. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Stephanie Roche has revealed she was on the verge of quitting international soccer before her three-year exile was ended by Irish boss Vera Pauw this week.

But a brutally honest heart-to-heart with the Dutch woman persuaded her not to walk away as she lines up a late career bid to boost Ireland’s chances to qualify for their maiden major tournament.

“In my mind, I always felt I had something to offer,” said the 33-year-old Peamount striker who will bid to add her 55 caps in Sunday’s friendly against the Philippines at their Turkish base in Antalya.

“If I didn’t, I would have walked away. I was part of this squad for ten years and being out of the loop was disappointing but I always felt I had a chance and the chats with the manager Vera Pauw were encouraging.

“It was just about trying to take the chance when it happened. I asked her were we wasting our time here?

“But she told me she really appreciated me as a player so that gave me a push to keep going and I have to thank her for that.

“There was a point where I thought it wasn’t coming because I was playing well for Peamount and scoring goals.

“You’re nearly fed-up as a player and I wanted to know if I wasn’t being used because otherwise I would have walked away. Thankfully, she re-assured me.”

Roche fired a hat-trick for the Peas against Sligo last weekend and claimed the final squad berth from the last sessions held this week before the team departed for Turkey.

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“It was all a bit manic,” added Roche, who burst into global prominence when she was runner-up in FIFA’s 2014 Puskas goal of the season competition.

“It was all quite last-minute. Before the home-based training, we knew there was a place available after the match and I was just over the moon. You’re always bracing for bad news and this was no different so to have it flipped was amazing.

“My dad wanted to give me a lift or meet me for a coffee but I told him I had to fly out straight away the next morning.

“I was hoping not to forget anything but once I had my shinguards, everything else I can replace.

“It’s been three years but it doesn’t seem that long because I’ve been in the home-based training sessions all the time.

"I felt like I was a 16-year-old back in the AUL waiting to hear something. It had been difficult for my family sharing all the disappointments so it was nice for me to ring them first.

“I just want to enjoy it now but also work hard and show I deserve to be here and want to stake a claim.”


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