Monday 23 October 2017

Death of cup legend and Rovers hero Fullam (75)

Former Ireland international Johnny Fullam has died at the age of 75
Former Ireland international Johnny Fullam has died at the age of 75
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Former Ireland international Johnny Fullam, a Shamrock Rovers legend and record eight-time FAI Cup winner, has passed away after illness at the age of 75.

Fullam was capped 11 times by Ireland and enjoyed his happiest times at Rovers after returning from a stint in England with Preston.

The defender was a part of the Hoops six-in-a-row team that dominated the Blue Riband between 1964 and 1969, although injury prevented him from contributing to the sixth success.

But he later won the competition twice with Bohemians and returned to Rovers to pick up another medal in 1978. He retired with two league winners medals in his possession too - one from Rovers (1964) and one from Bohs (1975).

Fullam made 19 European appearances for Rovers and was part of some famous nights. Speaking to this newspaper in 2010, he picked out the European Cup Winners tie with a star studded Bayern Munich team that went on to win the competition in 1966/67 after a serious scare against the Irish cup experts.

Struck

Following a 1-1 draw in Dublin, Rovers came back from two goals down in Munich and were six minutes away from going through to the quarter finals on the away goals rule when Gerd Muller struck for the Germans.

"They were top of the class at the time," recalled Fullam. "They had lads who'd been in the World Cup final that year. Muller, Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier are the ones who spring to mind I suppose. And we came close.

"But then we always felt we were in with a chance with that team. We had a great belief in ourselves. Even going to Munich after the first leg, we felt we could get a result.

"We never had a defeatist attitude. What could I call it? Confidence, I suppose. For me, Shamrock Rovers always were and always will be the Manchester United of Irish football."

The high point of Fullam's Irish caps was the winning goal in a 3-2 away win over Belgium in 1966. His memory will be honoured before Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Irish Independent

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