Stephanie Roche

Republic of Ireland striker Stephanie Roche ‘proud’ to reach 50-cap milestone ahead of Wales showdown

Republic of Ireland striker Stephanie Roche reached her 50-cap milestone against Hungary on Friday, and says every cap still feels like her first.

The 27-year old forward has played every minute of the Cyprus Cup tournament so far, scoring the opening goal of the 2-0 win over Czech Republic on Wednesday.

It was her 13th goal for the national side and she was delighted to reach the 50-cap milestone after always having ‘that belief’ in herself.

The Sunderland Ladies striker said: “I’m very proud to reach 50 caps, it’s been a long time coming but it’s excellent for me and my family.

“I started playing with the Under-17s side when I was 14 so I’ve been around the international set-up quite a while. I always had that belief that I could get into the senior team when I was younger.

“Obviously, getting into the team was a great moment for me and now I’ve got 50 caps, that is something I can be really proud of.”

Roche scored her first senior goal back in 2009, a late-winner against Kazakhstan and also netted a hat-trick against Montenegro in a 9-0 win at Tallaght Stadium last year.

Dublin-born Roche isn’t settling for 50 caps and has set her sights on getting more caps under new Head Coach Colin Bell, and catch up on her team-mate Aine O’Gorman who has 92 caps.

She continued: “When I score a goal, I think I show how passionate I am about playing for the national team. I think we all show how passionate we are to play for the national side.

“I think it comes with the Irish-ness in us that everybody knows that playing for your country is one of the best things you can do. It feels like your first cap every time you play.

“I just want to keep getting more caps and with Colin as the new manager who has brought in a new style of play, I just want to be around for a lot longer. I’ve got a few to catch up on Aine O’Gorman so hopefully I’ll get there.

“Colin is trying to put down some foundations and letting us know exactly what he wants from us. It’s been really good so far and I’m really excited for what the future holds for the country.”

Ireland are set to play Wales today, with kick-off at 12.30pm GMT as Colin Bell’s side look to top the group and Roche admits the camp is looking forward to the test.

She added: “Wales have got a very good squad and have some excellent players. We played them in August with an under-strength squad and did well so with a few of our more familiar faces back.

“We’re looking forward to the game, it’s going to be a big test and we want to win the group.”

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