WORLD Cup hero Alan McLoughlin has vowed to win his battle with cancer almost 20 years after he scored the goal in Belfast that sent Ireland to the 1994 World Cup finals in America.
The former Portsmouth midfielder revealed to the Irish Sun that he is fighting the disease after an operation to remove a kidney.
The 45-year-old will learn next month if the surgery to remove the organ and a cancerous tumor in Bristol was successful.
Now a youth team coach with Portsmouth, he told the Sun how he first noticed something was wrong six weeks ago.
McLoughlin explained, “I had taken the Portsmouth under-14 team to a game at AFC Wimbledon six weeks ago and had dropped them back to the academy in the mini-bus when I decided I needed a pee.
“I went to the loo and nothing was happening which was strange so I pushed a bit harder and started peeing blood, blood and urine.
“I just jumped back from the urinal and called out to Lucas, one of the physios who had traveled with us. He came running in, thinking I had collapsed or something and when he saw the blood he told me to get straight to the hospital.
“I drove straight to Swindon hospital, still in my Pompey gear, and rang my wife Deby on the way.
“The best way I could describe it was it felt like I was having period pain. They sent me home but within two hours I was in agony again. I was re-admitted on the Sunday, had a cat scan on the Monday and that night the doctor came to my bedside and pulled the curtain.
“I thought he was going to tell me it was a gall stone but he just said they found a tumor on the kidney and it would have to come out.”
GIOVANNI Trapattoni is staying on as Ireland manager after an extraordinary FAI board meeting and showdown talks with chief executive John Delaney in Dublin.
Trap’s future was helped by the 4-1 win in the Faroes last week, just days after a record 6-1 home defeat to Germany piled the pressure on the Italian.
The FAI board met on their return from Torshavn when they opted not to sack Trapattoni – even though the manager himself thought he was on the way out.
Instead they called Trapattoni to a meeting with Delaney in Dublin on Friday when he was informed what the FAI now expects of him as they move forward.
The FAI confirmed they would stick with Trapattoni after the two-hour board meeting on Wednesday of last week.
A statement said, “While disappointed like everyone with the poor result and performance against Germany and understanding the frustration of some of our supporters, we believe the current position in the group means that qualification for Brazil in 2014 remains a realistic and achievable prospect.
“We reaffirm that Giovanni Trapattoni is to remain in charge of the national team.
“The board recognizes the depth of feeling surrounding the team, the performances, the results and the manager, reflecting the passion which everyone in Irish football has for the game and will continue to work closely with the manager.”
Trapattoni was told at Friday’s meeting to attend more games in England, stop the fall-outs with his players and work on his English.
He responded by watching Wes Hoolihan and Anthony Pilkington star for Norwich in their Premier League win over Arsenal on Saturday.
The FAI described Delaney’s meeting with Trapattoni as “constructive.”
A statement added, “The meeting dealt with some issues that needed to be addressed and that this was done in a workmanlike and professional manner.”
Trapattoni said, “John and I met to clarify the thoughts of the board and these were agreed and confirmed by me.
“It was a useful and professional conversation and I thank him for this. During the meeting we discussed a number of points that were raised by the board to help us continue to improve our work for the association.”
Trapattoni is now planning for the future. He said, “We have in November another game.
“We started three games ago -- we have won two games, we have lost one against the best team in Group C.
“For me, it’s my job. I say always I am proud to be the manager of this team with these players.
“We have discovered many, many young players in the last three years and sometimes we can lose. Football is like this.”
Former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed he would be interested in the Ireland job if a vacancy arises in the near future.
Redknapp, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane were all named as potential successors to Trapattoni.
“International football is something that would interest me,” said Redknapp.
Keane Happy With Trap
ROBBIE Keane has welcomed the decision to stick with Giovanni Trapattoni as Ireland boss after he helped Ireland to a 4-1 win in the Faroe Islands.
The LA Galaxy striker believes Trapattoni deserves to stay in charge of the Irish team despite the record 6-1 defeat at home to Germany.
The Republic are now on six points in their World Cup group with Germany and Sweden ahead of them and Keane is adamant Trap should stay.
Keane said, “The manager knows that with the squad of players we have, we are quite capable of qualifying, and I believe we can qualify, there’s no question about that.
“I still believe we can qualify and I am sure the manager believes that too, so I believe that the manager will be there with us.
“It’s out of my hands, but I am sure every player would probably say the same, we want him to stay and continue this campaign.”
DROGHEDA United booked a place in the Europa League next season with a late goal as they beat champions Sligo 2-1 on Friday night. Gary Twigg said his goodbyes to the Shamrock Rovers fans with both goals as they beat UCD 2-1 in Tallaght.
Cork City won 3-0 at home to Dundalk, Bohs won 4-1 at Bray and Derry were 2-1 winners at home to St Pats in a dress rehearsal for the FAI Cup final.
WATERFORD United have gained the upper hand in the Airtricity League First Division play-off after beating Longford Town 2-0 at Flancare Park in the first leg on Saturday night . . .
IRELAND’S under-19 women’s side is through to the second round of the UEFA Under-19 Women’s European Championship after an 11-0 win over Latvia . . .
SLIGO Rovers defender Jason McGuinness has won the Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month award for September.