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Billy Behan

Personal information
Full nameWilliam Behan
Date of birth8 August 1911
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
Date of death12 November 1991(age 80)
Playing positionGoalkeeper

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William "Billy" Behan (8 August 1911 12 November 1991) was an Irish footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Manchester United during the 1930s.

He made his Rovers debut on 8 February 1931 in a 5 1 win over Bray Unknowns at Milltown. In his first season he won the FAI Cup.

Behan signed for Manchester United in September 1933, along with fellow Irishman David Byrne - they were the first players from the south of Ireland to play for the club in over a decade.

He made his United debut in an English Second Division home game against Bury on 3 March 1934. The following July, he briefly returned to Shelbourne before again returning to Rovers. Over the next two seasons, he won another FAI Cup and a League of Ireland Shield. His last game for the Hoops was on 23 August 1936 in a Shield win over Drumcondra.

After his retirement as a player he became a respected referee and was in charge of the 1943 FAI Cup Final. He then managed Drumcondra in the 1950s where he won the FAI Cup again.

Behan subsequently became United's chief scout in the Republic of Ireland and is credited with discovering, among others, Johnny Carey, Liam Whelan, Tony Dunne, Don Givens, Kevin Moran and Paul McGrath. He also served as vice chairman of the Dalkey-based Leinster Senior League team, Dalkey United and it was through this association that he discovered McGrath.

Behan's father, William Sr., was one of the founder members of Shamrock Rovers. His brothers John and Paddy also played for Rovers. His son William junior kept goal for Rovers side also for a spell. His second cousin was Bob Fullam.

He died in November 1991 at the age of 80.

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