18 June 2012
Robbie Keane says Loughinisland black armbands gesture at Euro 2012 ‘only right’
'It's only right that we do wear the armbands in respect of everyone's families to let them know as a team, and as a nation, that we are thinking of their families'
ROBBIE KEANE has said that “it’s only right” that Ireland players wear black armbands in the Euro 2012 match against Italy tonight, on the exact anniversary of a unionist death squad attack on a bar in the County Down village of Loughinisland in which six men were shot dead as they watched Ireland play Italy in the World Cup on 18 June 1994.
The gesture was given the go-ahead by soccer governing body UEFA after being approached by the Football Association of Ireland on behalf of the victims’ families. The families say they are touched by the move.
Eamon Byrne (39), Barney Green (87), Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O Hare (35) and Adrian Rogan (34) suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the back as they sat watching the game after two masked men from the Ulster Volunteer Force stormed into The Heights Bar (below) and fired up to 30 bullets from an AK-47 and a Czech-made rifle into the patrons.
No one has ever been convicted of the brutal sectarian rampage, which devastated the quiet village of Loughinisland and left nine children without a father.
Robbie Keane (who is handing over his captain’s armband for tonight’s match to Damien Duff to mark his 100th cap) said:
“It's only right that we do wear the armbands in respect of everyone's families to let them know as a team, and as a nation, that we are thinking of their families.”
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney said:
“What happened in Loughinisland in 1994 was an awful tragedy and deeply moving for all football fans. I would like to thank UEFA for assisting us in commemorating this atrocity and take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in the Troubles.”
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