|Date Of Birth:||14 Jan 1912|
|Place Of Birth:||Larne|
|Date Of Death:||March 1989|
|Place Of Death:||Nottingham|
|Debut:||17-Sep-44, City Cup, (H) v. Cork United|
When left-winger Willie Fallon came to Dundalk in August 1944, he was no stranger to one of his new colleagues: he and Joey Donnelly had made their International debut on the same occasion—10 years previously in a 4-2 loss to Hungary at Dalymount Park.
By the outbreak of the Second World War Willie had accumulated 9 caps, his last coming in the final Irish pre-war international.
His League of Ireland career had started with Brideville in the 1930-31 season and came to life with Dolphins where he was on the losing side in the 1933 FAI Cup final, when Shamrock Rovers prevailed in a replay.
After scoring 26 goals in two Dolphin seasons, he was transferred to Notts County in February 1934 and in a short while became an almost ever present.
In the 1936-37 season he missed just one game when County finished runner up in the Third Division South. He spent the last pre-war season with Division Two Sheffield Wednesday, having followed his Notts manager Jimmy McMullan, but they lost out by a point in the promotion race to local rivals Sheffield United.
Returning to Ireland during the war he togged out with Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne. He was on the Rovers team that won the FAI Cup in 1940 (scoring in the 3-0 Final victory over Sligo Rovers).
For the 1940-41 year he switched to Shelbourne where he stayed for four seasons, making 139 appearances and scoring 23 goals. During the 1941-42 season he played one game as a guest with York City in the War-time Leagues.
His Shel’s goal count might have been higher had he not done a tour of the field positions during his period with the Reds. In his first session he alternated between left wing and right-half back, moving to centre-half for his next two terms.
The year before he came to Dundalk he was back on the left wing, from where he helped Shelbourne to the Shield-League Double but although again scoring in the FAI Cup final, this time he had to be content with a runner up medal when Shamrock Rovers came out on top.
There were no competition honours in his two seasons at Dundalk—his fifth League of Ireland club—but his outstanding wing play and regular supply of goals made him a crowd favourite.
In both seasons he was in second place in the goal scoring lists and he supplied the leading scorer’s with most of their opportunities (Donal Flanagan in 1944-45 and George Stirling in 1945-46).
There was much regret when he decided to return to the English League for the following season. Before his departure he was on the Reserves team that captured the Metropolitan Cup, defeating Bohemians in the Tolka Park final.
Now 34 years of age he spent his two final English League seasons with Notts County and Exeter City before closing his playing career in the Midland League with Peterborough United. Playing mainly at centre-half, he made 64 League and Cup appearances, scoring once, in a two-year spell with the ‘Posh’.
He was capped six times by the League of Ireland for War-time Inter League games against the Northern Ireland Regional League, three of them while with Dundalk.
He also featured regularly on the season-end showpiece fixture between the FAI XI and the Irish Army, played each April at Dalymount Park throughout most of the 1940s. In the first fixture, in 1942, he lined out at centre-half with the FAI team and later he made three successive appearances with the Army team from 1944 to 1946.
In the 1945-46 year, after Fred Kieran was injured in a Leinster Cup match against Transport, he took over as goalkeeper—a role his father had played with Dublin, while winning GAA All-Ireland medals in the early century.
Willie himself had a distinguished Gaelic Football background, and like his father he had won an All-Ireland medal with the Dublin minors in 1930 and in the same season was on the Dublin Minor team defeated by Kilkenny in the Leinster hurling final.
In 19 playing seasons between 1931-32 and 1949-50 he was credited with 120 goals from over an estimated 550 appearances.
When he joined Dundalk the training of the club’s Dublin players was in the hands of Charlie Reid—his inside left partner when he had started with Brideville fifteen years previously. His younger brother, Peadar, played for Exeter City and Queens Park Rangers in the period 1947 to 1953.
What They Said About Him
“Will make things hum for us this season … has brains … a good shot … has a very long cross pass that upsets a defence … always dangerous … “Dundalk Democrat
3 League of Ireland Caps
|English League career|
|English League Career||203||41|