Watch: 25 years ago today, Alan McLoughlin fired Jackie's Army to USA '94 at Windsor Park

Sat, Nov 17 2018

Jack Charlton pictured before the Republic of Ireland's 2015 friendly with England. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

25 years ago witnessed one of the most famous days in Irish footballing history as Alan McLoughlin struck in Belfast 13 minutes from time to seal a place at USA 94.

The Republic of Ireland travelled to a hostile Windsor Park in their final group game knowing a win would guarantee qualification but any other result would leave their fate out of their hands.

Ireland went into the final game on 17 points, a point behind group leaders Denmark and two ahead of Spain – Spain hosted Denmark in Seville the same night.

Disaster struck for Ireland 16 minutes from time as a slick one-touch move finished with Northern Ireland strike Jimmy Quinn volleying spectacularly past Packie Bonner – 1-0 Northern Ireland.

As it stood, with Spain winning 1-0 in Seville, Spain topped the group and Denmark were second, meaning Ireland were out.

Within four minutes Jack Charlton’s side were level.

Denis Irwin’s free kick from the left was headed clear by Gerry Taggart but only as far Portsmouth midfielder McLoughlin, who chested the ball down and volleyed low past Tommy Wright.