Tuesday 16 January 2018

True Blue Billings was a friend to all

Dave's Belfield Bowl overflowed with kindness

HE never lingered. Too busy for that.

He relished his role at Belfield. He was in it for the love of the games.

And the players loved him. On Dublin Club Championship nights, the UCD students would always arrive, no matter how great the distance.

The last thing they'd want to do is to let down Davy Billings.

He was honest. And he was straight. He was the toughest, kindest gentleman.

He was forever hopping the ball. He embraced the great debate.

He'd arrive into Parnell Park on the bike. The ear-phones were a constant companion.

He enjoyed the radio. And the papers. He cherished sport. He would chat about the Spanish soccer he was watching on Saturday nights.


He delighted in seeing people at play. It didn't matter at what level.

One day he was at the Cumann na mBunscol finals in Croke Park. He marvelled at the beauty of it all.

At UCD, he felt that sport and study were the ideal mix. Because that is the road he had followed himself. With commendable success. But never was there any outward show.

He preferred the tracksuit to the pin-stripe.

He had been a top dual player, but never a word about that. He dealt in the present and the future. Management suited him. He was a doer. A roll-up-the-sleeves man.

You'd often see him in the Sports Centre in Belfield sorting out the jerseys and the balls.

It was a demanding role. All the codes and many, many teams. But to Dave, it was never a hardship.

He was at ease in the college corridors. But the blue and white of St Vincent's was in the blood.

Things became awkward when UCD and Vincent's clashed in the Dublin championship.

But Davy carried it off with amazing grace. The way all champions do.

And for those that questioned UCD's involvement in the Dublin Championship, they could expect a stinging forehand return that Nettie would be proud of .

Home was Clontarf. As proud as punch of the kids.

And where he'd say to Nettie: "You can't make coddle as good as me mammy."

They don't make people like Davy Billings anymore. Forever a part of Dublin in the rare old times.

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