November 17th, 1993 was no ordinary Wednesday night.
Set to the backdrop of The Troubles, the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualification hopes teetered on the brink at Belfast's Windsor Park. Meanwhile, in Seville, second-placed Spain hosted group-toppers Denmark.
Denmark were top of Group Three with 18 points (goal difference +14, goals scored 15). The Danes were a point ahead of Spain (17 points, goal difference +22, goals scored 26) and Ireland (17 points, goal difference +13, goals scored 18). A draw in Spain was enough for Denmark to qualify. Ireland and Spain knew that a win would guarantee them a place at USA '94, but that a draw for either of them might be enough (in Spain’s case, a draw was enough if Ireland failed to beat Northern Ireland; in Ireland’s case, a draw was enough if Spain and Denmark did not draw.)
10-man Spain scored. Northern Ireland scored. The whole thing was turned on its head and, for a moment, as things stood, Ireland were going out. Enter Tony Cascarino. Well, almost.
Speaking with Balls.ie at a personal punditry session hosted by Carry Out Off Licence in Temple Bar, the former Ireland striker regaled assembled fans with a tale from that famous night in Windsor Park back in 1993, when an Alan McLoughlin wondergoal - and some help from elsewhere - sealed World Cup qualification for Ireland.
Cascarino revealed that Jack Charlton missed McLoughlin's iconic strike; he was too busy giving Cascarino himself an almighty bollocking on the sideline.
We can also confirm that Spain in fact beat Denmark, a result which - combined with a draw in Belfast - saw Ireland into second place, and also that Andy Townsend and Tony Cascarino have never shared a wife.