Saturday 22 October 2016

Billings was a hugely positive influence on me playing for Dublin

It was with huge sadness that I heard of the passing of Dave Billings (inset) when I was away on holidays last week.

Davey was true, devout GAA man and I spent many years working under his positive guidance with the Dublin U21s and seniors.

I first came across Davey back in the mid-1990s when he managed the Dublin U21 team.

I recall one night arriving at training in Clontarf rugby club having picked up a knock on the previous Sunday playing a national league game.

Davey approached me and told me to rest up for the night. Knowing that I had just turned 21 the previous weekend, he gave me £20 and told me to go into the clubhouse and have a pint!

That summed up Davey for me! He loved his football and when the ball was inside the white line, nobody wanted to win more.

But outside those white lines, he looked out for young players and understood there was more to life than just football.

He will be missed around St Anne's Park every evening when he regularly passed on his bike and stopped for a quick chat at club training or to watch a club game.

I always reckoned he was the only man to get to three or four matches each night soaking up the atmosphere at each game and looking for the game that had a bit of bite to it.

Davey was hugely positive influence throughout my good days and the bad days in the Dublin jersey. His players came first where he would protect them at every turn.

He will be missed by all in Dublin football circles and beyond. My deepest sympathies to his family and his club colleagues in St Vincent's.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

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