Alan McLoughlin, the player whose goal saw the Republic of Ireland qualify for USA ’94, has died at the age of just 54 after a battle with cancer.
The former Portsmouth and Swindon midfielder revealed in March he was preparing to undergo a course of radiotherapy following surgery to remove a tumour from his vertebrae, nine years after being diagnosed with a kidney tumour.
McLoughlin also said he was told by doctors in November 2019 that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body, and that he had been rushed to hospital this year with a fractured neck after his vertebrae had crumbled.
His death was confirmed in a statement issued by the FAI, which offered its condolences to his wife Debbie and their daughters Abby and Megan: “Alan had bravely faced into a second battle with cancer in recent months with his courage in adversity an example to all those who knew him and loved him.”
The midfielder began his career as an apprentice at his hometown club Manchester United, but it was at Pompey where he settled, making more than 350 appearances during a seven-year stay.
Alan won 42 caps for Ireland and wrote himself into the nation’s sporting folklore with the equaliser he scored in a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in 1993 which sent Jack Charlton’s team to the US the following summer.
FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “Alan will always be remembered for that goal in Belfast 18 years ago, a goal that brought the entire country to its feet. He was a great player for Ireland, a fantastic footballing man who coached so many young players and a very proud family man.”