Sean Fallon (footballer)

Sean Fallon (31 July 1922 – 18 January 2013) was an Irish professional footballer. At his death, he was the oldest surviving person to have played for the Republic of Ireland national football team.[3]

Sean Fallon
Sean Fallon (7710694458).jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1922-07-31)31 July 1922
Place of birth Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland
Date of death 18 January 2013(2013-01-18) (aged 90)
Position(s) Centre-forward, Full back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1946 Longford Town
1947 Sligo Distillery
1948–1949 Sligo Rovers 17 (4)
1949–1950 Glenavon 17 (0)
1950–1958 Celtic 254 (14)
National team
1950–1955 Republic of Ireland[1][2] 8 (2)
1950 Irish League XI 1 (0)
Teams managed
1962–1975 Celtic (Asst. Manager)
1975 Celtic (Acting Manager)
1980–1981 Dumbarton
*Club domestic league appearances and goals
Sean Fallon
Personal information
Irish name Seán Ó Fallúin
Sport Gaelic football
Position Full-Back
Born (1922-07-31)31 July 1922
Sligo, Ireland
Died 18 January 2013(2013-01-18) (aged 90)
Years Club
? – ?
Craobh Rua
Years County

Playing careerEdit

Sean Fallon played for Celtic and became a legend at the club during his playing days from 1950 to 1958, playing as a full-back and centre forward. He made 254 appearances, scoring 14 goals. He also earned eight international caps with the Republic of Ireland.[4]

Sean Fallon started his football career with St Mary's Juniors and also played Gaelic football for Craobh Ruadh. In April 1948, Fallon scored two goals for the Sligo county team against Kerry in a National Football League quarter final played at the Showgrounds.[5]

He also played for McArthurs, Sligo Distillery and Longford Town. While at Longford he was capped at centre half for the junior Republic of Ireland national football team. He joined his hometown club in August 1948[6] In August 1949 Fallon signed professional forms for Glenavon F.C.[7]

In March 1950 Fallon joined Glasgow Celtic after impressing with his performance for the Irish League XI against the League of Ireland XI[8]

Sean Fallon's love affair with Celtic started when the son of the Celtic legend Jimmy McMenemy saved Fallon's sister, Lilly, from drowning at Lough Gill.[9] Fallon invited Joe McMenemy back to his house and the Scot returned the compliment by sending Sean presents of a Celtic shirt and Willy Maley's book "The Story of the Celtic". He realised his ambition when he made his league debut for Celtic, away to Clyde, in the last game of the 1949–50 season.

Within a year he had helped the team win the Scottish Cup, beating Motherwell 1–0 in the 1951 Scottish Cup Final. Fallon said later: "As I walked off Hampden Park I felt I had got everything out of life I had ever wanted. I had become a member of the famous Celtic Football Club and holder of a Scottish Cup badge all in one year." Two years later Sean would also have a cup final goal to celebrate as he scored in the 1953 Scottish Cup Final, against Aberdeen. Fallon's performances for Celtic earned him the nickname: "The Iron Man". He once assessed his own talents as a player by saying – "I was just an ordinary player with a big heart and a fighting spirit to recommend me."

The later 1950s were a barren period for Celtic, with two major triumphs providing rare moments of joy for the long-suffering support. The first was the Double of 1953–54. Fallon suffered a broken collarbone against Hearts in October, which kept him out for most of the season. In the days before substitutes were allowed he left the pitch for twenty minutes only to return with his arm in a sling and continued playing. The captaincy of the side, which had passed to him in 1952, was taken over by Jock Stein. Fallon was back to full fitness for another momentous occasion, when Celtic won 7–1 against Old Firm rivals Rangers in the 1957 Scottish League Cup Final.[4] The match has since become known as Hampden in the sun, a rhyme of the scoreline.

Coaching careerEdit

Fallon was forced to retire in 1958 through injury but his influence and importance at the club continued. He became assistant to Jock Stein when Stein took up the post of manager in 1965. It was initially proposed by the Celtic chairman Bob Kelly that Fallon should be manager, and Stein his assistant. However Stein vetoed this suggestion and threatened to take an offered job in England, leading to Kelly offering him the full manager's job.[citation needed]

He was an integral part of Celtic's success under Jock Stein, when he was the manager's right-hand man. His powers of persuasion were often called upon to secure the signatures of promising young players who would go on to become Celtic legends, such as David Hay, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish and Packie Bonner. When Jock Stein suffered a near-fatal car crash in 1975, Fallon took over as caretaker manager. He later briefly managed Dumbarton.[4]

Fallon in later years became a director at Dumbarton and then Clyde.[10][11]

Fallon unfurled the league championship flag at Celtic Park on 4 August 2012.[12] He died on 18 January 2013 at the age of 90.[4]


  1. ^ "Sean Fallon". Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Sean Fallon". Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Nationwide to profile the late Sean Fallon". RTÉ Sport. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Tonight's Nationwide programme is a profile of the late Sligo-born, Sean Fallon, an iconic Glasgow Celtic figure who until his sudden death last month, was the oldest surviving Republic of Ireland international.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sean Fallon: Tributes paid after Celtic great dies aged 90". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  5. ^ The Irish Times {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Sligos international heroes honoured by FAI". Irish Independent. 24 November 2012.
  7. ^ The Irish Times {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Sean Fallon". Irish Independent. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Sean Fallon: Celtic stalwart as player and coach". The Independent. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Sean Fallon". Clyde FC. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Stephen (4 August 2012). "Sean Fallon: a man with an eye to pick out outstanding talent". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 21 October 2012.

External linksEdit