Former Ireland midfielder Alan McLoughlin dies aged 54

DUBLIN — Alan McLoughlin, who famously scored a goal to send Ireland to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, has died. He was 54.

His death was announced Tuesday by the Football Association of Ireland, which said the former midfielder died after a second battle with cancer.

Born in Manchester, England, McLoughlin represented Ireland between 1990 and 1999, making 42 appearances.

McLoughlin scored a late equalizer against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Nov. 17, 1993, a left-foot strike that secured Jack Charlton’s squad a trip to the World Cup the following summer.

“Alan will always be remembered for that goal in Belfast, a goal that brought the entire country to its feet,” FAI president Gerry McAnaney said. “He was a great player for Ireland, a fantastic footballing man who coached so many young players and a very proud family man.”

The FAI extended its sympathies to McLoughlin’s wife, Debbie, and 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 FAI said.

Tributes also poured in from his former club teams, notably Portsmouth, where he made more than 350 appearances in a seven-year stay.

“He was a loyal friend and if you ever needed him, then he would be there. I’m absolutely devastated,” former teammate Alan Knight said on Portsmouth’s website.

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