Roche’s rollercoaster

by Stephen Findlater
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NEARLY a month has passed since Stephanie Roche’s wonder goal for Peamount United earned her second place in the FIFA Goal of the Year voting but she says that the media attention has scarcely slowed down.

The day after FIFA’s gala celebration of 2014, Roche was en route to La Manga for a training camp with the women’s national team which gave a little break.

But coming back to Ireland has barely been a comedown as the unexpected rollercoaster continues apace.

“The girls were good with me,” the Shankill native told GazetteSport. “It was my chance to switch off for two or three days. Once I came back, I was straight back into it [with media appearances].

“I am not going to complain; it’s something that I have enjoyed. Everyone’s been so nice about it. Even going to Dundrum Shopping Centre, people have stopped me for selfies; it’s a bit crazy. There’s no kind of bitterness about it; it’s been a really good experience.”

Indeed, the immediate aftermath was almost inescapable after “that” photograph of Roche confidently striding past perennial Ballon d’Or nominees Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi being emblazoned on virtually every Irish front page.

She is however, keen to get back into regular competitive football. Barring an international run-out against Norway in Spain, she has not played a game since December 21 with French club, Albi.

She is currently awaiting clearance from them to make her next move as an in-demand player whose qualities have been shown off on a huge stage.

At the paperwork takes its time to clear, Roche is training with UCD, managed by her former Peamount boss Eileen Gleeson in tandem with the gym.

But game time remains a few weeks away.

Asked where she is off to next, she says: “I don’t yet and I don’t want to jinx anything by saying something. I am superstitious like that. I am waiting to get my French papers cleared now; I have to get a letter from Albi to say I played my last game on December 21 before I sign for someone else.

“I really want to get back playing; there’s nothing like match fitness so I want to start playing matches and I am hopefully back in the next few weeks. I could be here [in Ireland] for a while and then go away so I will have to wait and see. Right now, it’s up in the air.”

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