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How an Irish publican's unease and mahogany doors spared a massacre during the 1994 World Cup final

‘I heard what I thought was a cork popping. I looked behind me and there was a bullet-hole in the mirror.’


This article is a part of The42′s USA 94 Week, a special series of commemorative features to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Fifa World Cup. To read more from the series, click here.

ON THE EVENING of 17 July 1994, millions of people around the world were tuning their TV sets to the Rose Bowl in California to watch the World Cup final between Italy and Brazil. 

On the other side of the Atlantic, in a quiet rural pub in Co. Down, publican John Loy felt uneasy. 

Earlier that day, he had run a bus to Clones for locals of Annaclone to watch Down win the Ulster Championship, and many had retired to his pub, The Hawthorn Inn, to celebrate and watch the World Cup final. 

With a crowd of roughly 40 people inside, Loy’s fear led to him closing the bar’s thick mahogany doors a little earlier than usual, around 10.15. 

Shortly after, a group of loyalist gunmen arrived.


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About the author:

Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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