Dublin GAA mourns death of football stalwart Dave Billings
DUBLIN GAA has been left in a state of shock mingled with deep sadness at the news that Dave Billings passed away suddenly overnight.
A Sky Blue legend in so many ways - as a dual player, manager, selector and county board delegate - Billings will be particularly missed by all those who knew him at St Vincent’s, UCD and the various Dublin county teams he served with.
In recent years he was best known for his role as a Dublin senior football selector under two consecutive managers - Tommy Lyons and Paul Caffrey.
The latter served alongside Billings for seven eventful campaigns and was distraught at his untimely passing. “The most competitive ‘divil’ I ever across,” Caffrey recalled today.
“When you were on the opposite sideline to Dave Billings, you knew you were in for a real battle - and yet he was the most lovable rogue I ever came across in the GAA.
“He knew every player that played football in Dublin. He knew every kid that was coming through the system. And he had a fantastic football brain. I never enjoyed working with anyone as much as Dave Billings.”
A Dublin U21 footballer and hurler, he was an All-Ireland SFC winner in 1974 as part of Kevin Heffernan’s ground-breaking squad. He later managed the Dublin U21 footballers and numerous UCD teams (where he worked as Gaelic Games executive), while taking temporary charge of the Dublin senior hurlers in the early noughties.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media:
So sad to hear of the passing of Dave Billings. A great Dublin & UCD GAA man but also a warm, friendly neighbour. Rest in Peace.— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) April 15, 2015
It's with huge sadness Executive Dave Billings passed away last night. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. pic.twitter.com/H641XGdGio— UCD Camogie Club (@UCDcamogie) April 15, 2015
Saddened by that news about dave billings . Was a good friend down the years and what a contribution to 3rd level sport. Rest in peace— Conor.mortimer (@Conmort) April 15, 2015
Terrible news about Dave Billings. Always did everything possible for a player both on & off the field. Will be missed.A True Dub— Conal keaney (@ConalKeaney) April 15, 2015
RIP Dave Billings. A great GAA man. Had the pleasure of playing for him at U21 & Snr Dublin— Johnny Magee (@JohnnyMagee06) April 15, 2015
Woke up to several missed calls & knew something was not good. Absolutely stunned to hear of passing of Dave Billings - Mr GAA in UCD. RIP— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) April 15, 2015
UCD's GAA Executive Dave Billings passed away last night. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.— UCD GAA (@UCDGAA) April 15, 2015
Awful news to hear death of Davy Billings. Davy had an incredible passion for GAA & had a huge impact on Dublin GAA throughout his life. RIP— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) April 15, 2015
Davy Billings spent his last evening watching St. Vincents v Ballyboden in Hurling in UCD. Something very right about that. A great man RIP— Tomás Quinn (@mossyquinn) April 15, 2015
News of UCD's Dave Billings is terrible. He offered CIT a replay in the hurling league 2 yrs ago when the referee got final score wrong.— Pat Mulcahy (@patmu200) April 15, 2015
Very few had as much faith in me as a footballer as Dave Billings,he inspired so many in the simplest ways,a true blue,a great Gael #RIP— Jason Sherlock (@boomjayo) April 15, 2015
A great coach, great mentor, great man. Always in the players' corner, @UCDGAA won't be the same again without Dave Billing's presence. RIP— Liam Rushe (@LiamRushe) April 15, 2015
Hard to comprehend.. Dave you were a gent, a mentor, a friend and the soul of @UCDGAA. You'll be greatly missed but never forgotten.— Mags D'Arcy (@magsdarcy) April 15, 2015
The reaction to Dave Billings passing says it all about the man. He was some character. Touched a lot of lives, my own included— Niall Mcnamee (@niallmc14) April 15, 2015