Dundalk player Jordan Flores is nominated for the 2020 FIFA Puskas Award

Cara Conlon

In a year that has seen plenty of dissatisfaction among Irish football fans, November 25th brought some much-needed positivity to the League of Ireland.

This optimism was caused by the announcement of the FIFA Puskás Award nominees.

A star-studded list was released, including household names such as Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heungmin, Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez, with Dundalk attacking midfielder Jordan Flores alongside them.

Dundalk player Jordan Flores has been nominated for the 2020 FIFA Puskas Award, following his dazzling volley for Dundalk against Shamrock Rovers in February of this year.

A corner from the right-hand side taken by Michael Duffy, found Flores in space in the 18-yard box to acrobatically swing his left foot high into the air striking the ball sweetly into the top right corner of Alan Mannus’s goal.

Flores’ League of Ireland against Shamrock Rovers was announced today as one of 11 contenders for the prestigious global goal of the year prize.

His stunning technical volley went viral in February of this year, just before the sporting shutdown, racking up over three million views on social media in the days that followed and making headlines across the world, including a slot on ESPN SportsCenter.

Established in 2009 by then FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, the FIFA Puskás Award is awarded to the player, male or female, who scored the most ‘beautiful’ goal of that calendar year.

The prestigious award has been won by superstars of the game such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Mohammed Salah in past years.

Jordan Flores has been nominated for the 2020 award following his dazzling volley for Dundalk against Shamrock Rovers in February of this year.

Jordan Flores may be the League of Ireland’s first player to be nominated, but he’s not the first player across all of Ireland’s football leagues to be in with the chance of taking home the
prestigious award.

Peamount United’s Stephanie Roche was nominated in 2014, becoming the first Irish player and the first woman to be a FIFA Puskás Award finalist, ultimately coming in second place with 33 per cent of the final vote.

Fans decide the three finalists through an online vote where they are asked to pick their top three goals out of the eleven goals that have been nominated. Voting is available on FIFA.com until December 9th at 10.59pm Irish time.

The three finalists will be announced on December 11th.

The winner of the 2020 Puskás Award will ultimately be chosen by a panel of ten FIFA experts and will be announced at the online FIFA The Best Awards Ceremony on December 17th.

This nomination is a huge step for the League of Ireland and Irish football on the European stage.

Despite the hardships the Irish men’s team have faced this year, the League of Ireland teams continue to show their class and talent that they can offer European football.

Flores’s goal is yet another great achievement for Dundalk this season as they qualified for the Europa League group stages, the first time an Irish team has achieved the feat since they qualified for the group stages of the 2016-17 Europa League.

The future of League of Ireland and its standing in Europe looks positive for the coming seasons.

Cara Conlon

Image Credit: Extra.ie