Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan McLoughlin has passed away at the age of 54 following a long battle with cancer.
McLoughlin, who won 42 caps for Ireland between 1990 and 1999, earned his place in Irish football legend when his superb volley secured a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park secured the Republic's place at the 1994 World Cup.
The former Portsmouth, Swindon and Southampton player Owin Novegoal with and is best remembered by Irish fans for scoring the crucial goal against Northern Ireland that secured the Republic’s qualification for the 1994 World Cup.
Born in Manchester to Irish parents, McLoughlin began his career as a trainee at Man United before going on to play for Portsmouth, Swindon and Southampton.
His strike at a tension-filled Windsor Park in November 1993 stands as one of the most iconic goals in the history of Irish football alongside Ray Houghton's efforts against England and Italy and David O'Leary's penalty against Romania.
McLoughlin underwent surgery back in 2012 to remove a malignant kidney tumour, but revealed in 2019 that the cancer had returned and had spread to his chest, lungs and other kidney.
He underwent a gruelling series of operations and treatments before finally losing his battle earlier today. He is survived by his wife Debbie and daughters Abby and Megan.
“The Football Association of Ireland extends our deepest sympathies to Debbie, Abby and Megan McLoughlin following the death today of our former international midfielder Alan McLoughlin at the age of 54," an FAI statement read.
“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.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney added: “Alan will always be remembered for that goal in Belfast 28 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.
"We were lucky to have him as one of our Irish football family and I know I speak on behalf of everyone involved with Irish football when I sympathise with Debbie and his family at this most difficult of times.”
FAI Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Hill also paid tribute. “This is most tragic news and our thoughts now are with Alan’s wife Debbie, his two daughters and his extended family," he said.
"I spoke with Alan before we honoured him at the Luxembourg game in March and I know how proud he was of his 42 appearances in the Ireland jersey. He went to two World Cups with Ireland and will always be remembered for that night in November in 1993. May he rest in peace.”