Wednesday 29 March 2017

Where are they now?

DAVY DALTON

(Former Kildare footballer)

There are very few inter-county footballers who play into their mid-thirties and with every passing year it becomes more obvious that it's a young man's game. But All Star footballer Davy Dalton played with Kildare until he was 35 and would have continued on if his body allowed him. Retiring wasn't easy for Dalton and he admits that he struggled to fill the void that football left.

"It's very hard to give up inter-county football because you go from being totally consumed by it to having nothing to do with it," explains Dalton. "Looking back, I think players could do with a bit of counselling after they finish up to help cope with the transition."

Dalton had a successful career with Kildare, winning an All Star in 1997 and a Leinster title in 1998 under the stewardship of Mick O'Dwyer. When the full-back finished playing, he moved into management, spending time at the helm of several club teams before taking charge of the Meath minors for two years in 2010.

"Coaching was good to get involved in. It's a completely different side to the game. You have to start from scratch and learn the ropes again. There is a lot more to coaching than turning up shouting at lads."

Dalton works for the Kildare council and lives in Summerhill in Co Meath where he operates the astroturf pitches in the village. The strong family football tradition is being continued by his two sons who won a senior championship with Summerhill last year and his daughters who also play for the club.

Dalton's father captained the Lilywhites to a Leinster championship win in 1956 and, though he doesn't live in Kildare anymore, he still has a strong allegiance to the county. He feels that beating Dublin today would be a good start to the year.

"It's more important for Kildare to win than it is for Dublin, it will be a marker for the year. It's important that they get into the habit of winning a few games against Dublin.

"They are very close to winning a Leinster title but they need a top-class free-taker. They are not scoring 50s whereas the teams that are winning provincial and All-Ireland championships are. The current squad are a very dedicated bunch and last year luck deserted them a bit. However, they are putting in the hard work and they will be rewarded down the road."

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