There was hardly anyone in the tiny Peamount United stadium to see Stephanie Roche score the spectacular goal that now sees her challenging James Rodriguez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robin van Persie for the Goal of the Year award.
The 25-year-old blonde centrepiece of Ireland’s women’s attack still cannot believe the strike and the fuss it has caused.
The 800 euro ($1,000) a month professional with Albi in the French women’s league is now dreaming of maybe meeting $80 million a year Cristiano Ronaldo at the award ceremony.
“It has just been crazy,” Roche said in an interview with AFP at her new club in southern France on Wednesday.
The goal has been viewed on the internet millions of times. That could help her beat the big name World Cup stars to the Puskas Award when it is announced on January 12.
Previous winners of the prestigious honour include Ronaldo, Brazil star Neymar, and last year Paris Saint-Germain’s Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Roche legend has been growing since October 20 last year when Peamount United played Wexford Youths in the Dublin suburbs — far from the packed stadiums that Rodriguez and the like made their mark.
The two sides, coaches and substitutes were the main witnesses when a cross came from the right, Roche flicked the ball up with the right foot, then the left, turned and blasted the ball in from 25 metres.
“It happened so fast it was probably just instinct,” said Roche, who now is repeatedly asked to recreate the strike for television crews.
“It was my first goal of the season so I was just happy to score,” she added.
But after the game the Wexford Youths manager came up and showed Roche a film of the goal on his laptop.