Former Ireland midfielder Alan McLoughlin dies aged 54

<p>DUBLIN &mdash; Alan McLoughlin, who famously scored a goal to send Ireland to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, has died. He was 54.</p>
<p>His death was announced Tuesday by the Football Association of Ireland, which said the former midfielder died after a second battle with cancer.</p>
<p>Born in Manchester, England, McLoughlin represented Ireland between 1990 and 1999, making 42 appearances.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>“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.”</p>
<p>The FAI <a href="">extended its sympathies</a> to McLoughlin’s wife, Debbie, and daughters Abby and Megan.</p>
<p>“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.</p>
<p>Tributes also poured in from his former club teams, notably Portsmouth, where he made more than 350 appearances in a seven-year stay.</p>
<p>“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.</p>
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