Ireland’s Stephanie Roche talks to our reporter Shaun Cronin about how she got into football, life with her new team in France, her admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo and about THAT goal.
The strike, which has notched up more than three million YouTube views, has earned the former Peamount United player a nomination for the FIFA Puskas goal of the year award, and has helped to bring more attention to the women’s game in Ireland.
Stephanie said: “Obviously it’s put women’s football out there and everybody’s looking at it now, which is great.
“Anybody that comes and watches women’s football in Ireland would let you know that it is as technical as the men’s game, it’s just not as fast.
She believes that anyone going to a women’s football game in Ireland would be surprised by how much they would enjoy it.
She said: “I was on a project last year and there were a lot of guys there who would probably have never been to a women’s match before and they came to a few of my Ireland games, and now they are regulars.
“It goes to show if you go to one of the games, you’ll see what talent there is in Ireland.”
Women’s sport in Ireland is presently on a high, helped by the achievements of the Cork Ladies Footballers and the Irish Women’s rugby team, and Roche thinks the public should be taking women’s sport more seriously.
She said: “I was looking at Denise O’Sullivan (Ireland Women’s football player) and she was getting all the awards possible over in Glasgow with her team, and she got personal achievements also.
“It just goes to show there is talent here in Ireland and Irish players can go and do it anywhere they go and play. The rugby team have been brilliant over the last few years, now they’ve been getting so much support.
“But it took for them to get so good, before they got it.
“It’s the same with Katie Taylor, until she won all her world titles, it took so much for her to be noticed, and now finally the people are getting behind her.”
Winning the goal of the year award would push the women’s game even further into the limelight, but Stephanie hopes that if she does win it, that it will inspire more women to take up the game in Ireland.
She said: “A lot of teams in the women’s national league have a professional approach, I mean look at Raheny United getting to the knock-out stages of the Champions League by winning their group.
“That’s a big step for women’s football in Ireland, full stop.
“The women’s final being shown in the Aviva was another big step, so I think that people are finally starting to take us seriously.
“There’s a bit more that can be done, but the FAI are really getting behind it now, they’ve just started top-level training now on a Friday night and they have put money into it, which is great.
“We just need all the help we can get, it’s got so much better over the last few years, and it just needs to try and push on from there and help the younger players.”
If you want Stephanie to make it into the final three shortlist, you have until December 1 to vote online.
Afterwards, there will be another public vote before FIFA announce the final winner of the Puskas Award as part of their Ballon d’Or ceremony in January 2015.
You can hear Stephanie’s full interview in our audio clip below.