Feenan John Image 1 Sunderland 1937

Feenan John Image 1 Sunderland 1937


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Newry, County Armagh born right back John Feenan began his football career with local Irish League club Newry Town before moving to Belfast Celtic in 1932 in a transfer deal that also saw Tommy Breen moving from Town to Celtic. After four years with Celtic during a period of their increasing dominance of Irish football, Feenan was signed by First Division club Sunderland in the 1936 close season, making his Football League debut against Brentford that September. Never a regular during his three seasons at Roker Park, he did get a run in the side in their 1937-38 campaign, when he made 16 of his total of 29 appearances for Sunderland, but he didn’t feature in either their 1937 FA Cup Final team nor their 1938 FA Cup semi final line up.

In 1937, while playing for Sunderland, Feenan won 2 caps for The Irish Free State. 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 17th May in a 1-0 win against Switzerland. A week later, on 23rd May, he also helped the FAI XI defeat France 2-0. These would prove to be Feenan’s only international appearances.He made his final League appearance for Sunderland on 6th May 1939 in a 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but his career was then interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.

After leaving Sunderland, Feenan returned to Ireland and played for Shelbourne. On 28th April 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, Dublin. Between 1942 and 1946 Feenan also served as The Shels’ manager.


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