Johnny Fullam: Midfield general who shone at Preston with Tom Finney before becoming a star back home in his native Ireland

Fullam was a shrewd, unflappable, sweet-passing midfield general

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The Independent Online

Dubliner Johnny Fullam looked set for success as a footballer in England after making his debut for Preston North End alongside the great Tom Finney in 1959. Instead, after sharing the trauma of demotion from the top flight in 1961, he returned to his homeland, where he became a revered figure.

A shrewd, unflappable, sweet-passing midfield general – usually he lined up at wing-half but was also comfortable at inside-forward or sweeper – Fullam shone as Shamrock Rovers collected multiple silverware, then garnered further glory with Dublin rivals Bohemians and in a second stint with Rovers.

Recruited at 18 from Home Farm in 1958, Fullam thrived at Deepdale, making his debut in September 1959 and impressing as North End finished above halfway in the table. He played his heart out, too, in 1960-61, earning the first of his 11 full caps and missing only a handful of Preston games, but with Finney retired they were relegated and Fullam joined Shamrock.

At Milltown he became a star as Rovers lifted the League and FAI Cup double in 1963-64 and won the knock-out competition six times in a row; he scored the winner in a replayed final against Limerick in 1965. In 1969 he joined Bohemians, proving hugely influential as they were crowned champions in 1974-75, and won the FAI Cup in 1970 and 1976, when he captained the side.

Thereafter he returned to Shamrock, whom he helped to another FAI Cup victory in 1978 and to reach the final in 1979. He switched to Athlone Town, with whom he served for a season before retirement. He was twice Irish Football Writers’ Personality of the Year, in 1967-68 and 1974-75.

John Rowan Fullam, footballer: born Dublin 22 March 1940; died Dublin 10 June 2015.

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