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IRELAND MIDFIELDER ALAN MCLOUGHLIN DIES AT 54

Former Republic of Ireland footballer Alan McLoughlin has died with cancer, aged 54.

As The Irish Times reports, McLoughlin earned 42 international caps during the 1990s, scoring a crucial goal at Windsor Park which helped Ireland qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

He started as a trainee at Manchester United, before spells with Swindon Town and Portsmouth among other clubs.

In a statement, The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said: “We extend 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.

“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 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.”

He said they were lucky to have him a part of the Irish football family and added “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.”