Cancer surgery for 1994 soccer hero Alan McLoughlin
WORLD Cup hero Alan McLoughlin has been diagnosed with cancer and has undergone surgery to have a kidney removed.
The Manchester-born midflelder -- whose equalising goal against Northern Ireland in Belfast secured our place at the 1994 World Cup finals -- will find out next month if the surgery to remove both the kidney and a cancerous tumour has stopped it from spreading.
Now working as a youth development coach for Portsmouth, McLoughlin realised something was wrong about six weeks ago after noticing blood in his urine following a team trip to Wimbledon.
He said: "I just jumped back from the urinal and called out to Lucas, one of the physios who had travelled with us. He told me to go to the hospital."
Doctors told the 46-year-old he probably had a bladder infection and was sent home.
However, just two hours later he was "in agony" and readmitted to hospital where a CAT scan was carried out.
That night, the doctor delivered the devastating news that they had found a tumour on the kidney and it would have to come out.
'' I just remember putting my hand up to my face and thinking 'How am I going to tell Deby and my two girls Abby and Megan and my mum and dad?'"
However, he said he found solace watching repeats of his goal against Northern Ireland which sent Ireland to USA '94.
"The one thing this illness has taught me is perspective -- but it has also made me reminisce about the past and how much we have to be proud of as a family."
Soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy told the Irish Independent: "He's been a good campaigner for Ireland for many years. I'm sure everyone in soccer will be wishing him all the best."
McLoughlin began his career as an apprentice at Manchester United before moving to Swindon Town, joining the Ireland squad for the 1990 World Cup, and then spent 10 years with Portsmouth.