Only A Game? - It’s inverted-sexism to base a vote on gender

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If I attempted to score a goal like the one Stephanie Roche scored for Peamount United I would be in hospital.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the goal, log on to and type in ‘Stephanie Roche goal’ and prepare to be entertained.

Republic of Ireland international, Stephanie Roche.

Republic of Ireland international, Stephanie Roche.

Stephanie’s goal is so good that it has made it into the final shortlist of goals to be considered for the 2014 Puskás Award.

The Republic of Ireland international is in good company. She has seen of the challenge of players like Diego Costa and Tim Cahill to reach the final three along with James Rodriguez’s strike for Colombia against Uruguay and Robin Van Persie’s diving header against Spain, both of which were at the World Cup in Brazil.

Roche netted her goal in front of approximately 95 people during a game between Peamount United and Wexford Youths in Bus Eireann Women’s National League in October last year.

Thanks to one spectator’s steady hand and social media, the goal went on to become an Internet sensation and as a result Stephanie has ex-professionals such as Paul McGrath stating that they think her goal the best of the three.

Personally, I prefer Van Persie’s goal but I suppose that has something to do with the fact that I had backed him to score anytime whilst I was in Galway watching said match and recouped a small fortune.

But joking aside. Here’s where the debate between Roche’s strike and the other two becomes heated.

Should the context (i.e. the game) in which the goal is scored be taken into consideration or should the Puskás Award be measured on the goal alone?

Personally, I think it’s essential that the context in which the goal was scored be included when attempting to arrive at a conclusion.

Should it be the deciding factor? I am not so sure about that one but if anyone believes that there is no difference between scoring a goal against the world champions at the World Cup finals and scoring a goal against Wexford Youths in the Bus Eireann Women’s National League then they really need to catch themselves on.

One could argue that scoring a goal of such quality as Roche’s is made easier because of the massive gap in quality between men and women’s football but then again, the flip-side to that coin is that you can only ever beat what’s put in front of you.

It would be amazing to hear an Irish woman announced as the winner at the special FIFA awards ceremony in January and with voting open to the public I don’t think it can be ruled out.

If you think Stephanie’s goal the best out of the three then vote for it but don’t be voting for the goal simply because she’s a woman.

Inevitably, I will be labelled a ‘sexist’ for saying I think Robin Van Persie’s goal better than Stephanie Roche’s. Be that as it may, I would argue that those men and women who are voting for Roche’s goal simply due to the fact that she is a woman are guilty of inverted-sexism.

It’s a nonsense and makes a mockery of the whole concept of meritocracy if you vote for a goal based on the gender of the person who scored it but if you honestly believe it to be the best then fill your boots.

I might prefer Van Persie’s but Roche’s is a close second. Best of luck Stephanie - you did something that the vast majority of men on Planet Earth can only dream of... What a goal!