Stephanie Roche has narrowly missed out on becoming the first woman to win the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year.
Colombia’s James Rodriguez was declared the winner from a three-strong shortlist including Republic of Ireland international Roche and Dutch striker Robin van Persie.
Very Proud to receive 1.1million votes. Congrats to James. A fantastic experience & thanks to everyone (across the world) for your support!— Stephanie Roche (@StephanieRoche9) January 12, 2015
Roche became an internet sensation following her stunning volley for Peamount United against Wexford Youths Women last year.
Pic :INPHO/Andreas Meier/Valeriano Di Domenico
Over six million fans viewed the goal on Youtube and sparked hopes Roche could become the first woman to claim the coveted award at FIFA’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Roche and many in Ireland were optimistic earlier today
But despite a concerted campaign Roche was beaten in the public vote by Rodriguez’s stunning effort against Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.
Voting breakdown for FIFA Puskas award
3.3 million votes were cast:
James Rodriguez (42%)
Stephanie Roche (33%)
Robin van Persie (11%)
Stephanie was just 9% away from the award
Unlike her two rivals for the award, Roche’s goal was watched by just 95 spectators and was filmed on a camcorder by Wexford coach John Flood.
Roche collected a short cross from the right on her right instep, flicked it over bemused defender Laura Heffernan with her other boot and from 25 yards magicked up a left-footed missile of a volley that found the top-right corner.
Following her nomination, Roche left Ireland to join ASPTT Albi in the south of France – though she since left that club amid rumours of more lucrative offers from England.
Reaction in Ireland this evening
The FAI have this evening congratulated Roche on her achievement of making the final three in the World.
FAI CEO John Delaney said, “Stephanie has done Irish Football proud. Her goal has been acclaimed internationally and rightly so. Getting to the final three is the world is a truly incredible achievement. Stephanie and the Association thank everyone who voted her. She is a fantastic ambassador for Irish football and for our country and we look forward to honouring her achievement at our own awards in March.”
Meanwhile, The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport has congratulated Stephanie on being shortlisted.
Michael Ring says the publicity that it has generated for the profile of the Women’s National League and Irish women’s sport is very welcome.
Paddy Power are refunding all losing bets placed on Stephanie Roche to win the Puskas Award. The refund will cost the bookmaker over 12,000 euro.
A spokesperson for Paddy Power said they genuinely felt that Stephanie's was the best goal - and that it's only fair to refund their patriotic punters' hard earned cash.