John Feenan

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John Feenan
Personal information
Date of birth (1914-07-01) 1 July 1914 (age 104)
Place of birth Newry, Ireland
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
19xx–1932 Newry Town
1932–1936 Belfast Celtic
1936–1939 Sunderland 28 (0)
1939–19xx Shelbourne
National team
1937 Ireland (FAI) 2 (0)
1940 League of Ireland XI 1 (0)
Teams managed
1942–1946 Shelbourne
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John "Johnny" Feenan (born 1 July 1914)[1] is an Irish and Northern Irish footballer who played for Belfast Celtic, Sunderland and Shelbourne. As an international he also played for Ireland. In the 1940s he served as manager of Shelbourne. He was born in Newry, Ireland.

Early years[edit]

Feenan began his career with his local team, Newry Town, before moving to Belfast Celtic in 1932 in a transfer deal that also saw Tommy Breen moving from Town to Celtic.[2] He turned 100 in July 2014.


Feenan made his English League debut for Sunderland on September 19, 1936 in a 4-1 win against Brentford at Roker Park. He made his final league appearance for the club on May 6, 1939 in an away game against Wolverhampton Wanderers which finished as a 0-0 draw. Feenan made 28 league appearances for Sunderland and played 1 further game for the club in the FA Cup. Among his team mates at the club were Raich Carter and Johnny Mapson.[3]


After leaving Sunderland, Feenan returned to Ireland and played for Shelbourne. On April 28, 1940, while at Shelbourne he played for a League of Ireland XI, that also included Paddy Bradshaw, Jimmy Dunne and Johnny Carey, which lost 3-2 to a Scottish League XI at Dalymount Park .[4] Between 1942 and 1946 Feenan also served as Shels manager.[5]

Ireland international[edit]

When Feenan played international football in 1937 there were, in effect, two Ireland teams, chosen by two rival associations. Both associations, the Northern Ireland - based IFA and the Irish Free State - based FAI claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Ireland and selected players from the whole island. Feenan was one of several players born in Northern Ireland who benefited from the FAI’s attempts to establish an all-Ireland influence.

In 1937, while playing for Sunderland, Feenan won 2 caps for Ireland.[6] In May of that year the FAI organised a European tour with a squad that included Feenan and two other Northerners, Jackie Brown and Davy Jordan. He made his debut for the FAI XI on May 17 in a 1-0 win against Switzerland. A week later, on May 23, he also helped the FAI XI defeat France 2-0. These would prove to be Feenan’s only international appearances. [7][8]


  1. ^ John Feenan
  2. ^ Paradise Lost and Found: The Story of Belfast Celtic (1999):Padraig Coyle [1]
  3. ^ Sunderland A.F.C. fansite Archived 2008-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Shelbourne fansite
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Boys In Green - The FAI International Story (1997),; accessed 7 May 2014.
  8. ^ Feenan's stats,; accessed 7 May 2014.