Ireland to honour shooting victims v Italy

Ireland will wear black armbands when they play Italy at June's European Championships to honour the victims of a pub shooting in Northern Ireland that occurred as fans watched the same two sides at the 1994 World Cup.

Six people died and five others were injured when gunmen opened fire on a packed bar in Loughinisland, County Down on June 18.

The shooting occurred during a troubled period in Northern Ireland's history where unionists, loyal to the governing British, clashed with nationalists who wanted a reunification of the partitioned island.

Ireland and Italy are due to meet at Euro 2012 in Poznan and UEFA has agreed to the commemoration, exactly 18 years on from the shooting.

"What happened in Loughinisland in 1994 was an awful tragedy and deeply moving for all football fans," Football Association of Ireland Chairman John Delaney said in a statement on Thursday.

"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."

The commemoration was welcomed by the victims' families.

"The families are touched that this tragic event can be commemorated on such a poignant day, the 18th anniversary of the atrocity," said Niall Murphy, a solicitor representing the families.

Ireland face Croatia and Spain as well as Italy in Group C at Euro 2012.