Sligos international heroes honoured by FAI
Fallon was reunited with some of his ex-team mates and met another Sligo-born international, Paul McGee, in a unique gathering of Irish players.I considered it a great honour to be asked to attend and it was a marvellous occasion, Sean commented.Fallon featured eight times for his country while at Celtic, making his debut against Norway in 1950. He was in the s
Two Sligo-born players, Sean Fallon and Paul McGee, were among former internationals honoured by the FAI in conjunction with the historic Republic of Ireland v Wales game at Croke Park on Saturday last. In this special feature they look back on their careers with the Boys in Green.By Michael Moran
Fallon was reunited with some of his ex-team mates and met another Sligo-born international, Paul McGee, in a unique gathering of Irish players.
“I considered it a great honour to be asked to attend and it was a marvellous occasion,” Sean commented.
Fallon featured eight times for his country while at Celtic, making his debut against Norway in 1950.
He was in the side which faced West Germany in their fifth post-war game a year later and in 1952 again faced the Germans, Austria, Spain and France.
In 1955 he made two international appearances, against Norway and the then World Champions, West Germany.
Ironically, Sean first came to prominence with the Sligo G.A.A. team in the late 1940’s and was recognised as a talented forward with Craobh Rua.
Some prolific displays saw him invited by the selectors to join the county panel in 1946 and among the highlights of his gaelic games career saw him score two goals against Kerry in the National League in 1948-at the Showgrounds!
“The Irish team management also used to stick me up centre forward if things weren’t going too well and I scored two goals-not bad for a full-back,” Sean recalled.
A Freeman of his native Borough of Sligo, Sean played soccer with St. Mary’s juniors before he joined Sligo Rovers from Longford Town in August, 1948.
A year later, he moved up North to play with Glenavon and after an impressive display in a game between the Irish League and the League of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, 1950, he was on his way to Glasgow Celtic.
Fallon was 28 when he joined the Parkhead giants, but injury problems forced him to retire at 36.
He made a total of 254 appearances, scoring 14 goals in the Scottish league, league cup and cup.
Sean also served in a variety of roles at Celtic and was assistant to Jock Stein when they won the European Cup in 1967.
He retains fond memories of his time as an Irish international and says he had the privilege of lining out alongside some excellent players.
“There was Johnny Carey of Manchester United, Tommy Eglinton (Everton), Tommy Aherne (Luton) and Peter Farrell (Everton) and many more.
“My first game ended in a draw against Norway at Dalymount Park (2-2) and I recall I then played against West Germany, also at Dalymount Park (the Irish winning 3-2),” Fallon added.
His third cap was also against West Germany in Cologne, the home side winning three-nil.
His next international match evokes bitter sweet recollections.
“It was against Austria (in Vienna on May 7th, 1952) and they gave us a good thumping (winning six-nil),” he explained.
There was another six-nil reversal to Spain in his next Irish match in Madrid in June, but he got on the scoresheet for the first time against France in a one-one draw at Dalymount Park in November.
He returned to the international scene in May, 1955, in a three one defeat to Norway.
West Germany were World Champions when they met Ireland before 50,000 spectators three days later, Fallon scoring in a two-one defeat.
“Back then, preparations were probably different than they are now. We never knew too much about the opposition and the same level of research was certainly not conducted on the other team.
“It was great to be involved though and I will always cherish my memories with the Irish side. It was nice to be remembered at the weekend and to see some old friends again,” said Sean.