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'No-one in the GAA did more for young people than Dave Billings did'


Dave Billings

Dave Billings


Dave Billings

Tributes have poured in following the sudden death of Dave Billings (63), former Dublin player and mentor and long-time GAA executive in UCD.

Tommy Lyons, who brought the St Vincent's man aboard as a selector when he was appointed Dublin manager, in late 2001 described him as "the finest GAA man I have ever met."

He served with Lyons for three years before continuing as a selector when Paul Caffrey took over as Dublin manager at the end of 2004.

"Nobody in the GAA did more for young people than Dave. He loved working with them. And while he was a true Dub to the core, he would do his very best to help everyone, as he did for so many years in UCD. He was a truly charismatic figure" said Lyons.

Describing him as one of the "most competitive people you would ever meet," Lyons said that Billings' honesty and his passion for the GAA made him a joy to be around.

"Above all else, Dave was fantastically loyal. A great man in every way. He would put you in good form the minute you met him," said Lyons.

Dublin CEO John Costello described him as a "Gaelic games evangelist" who would do anything to promote football and hurling.

"Dave dedicated large parts of his life to both football and hurling, whether as a player, a manager, or as an administrator.

"His influence spread much further than the confines of the playing fields of Dublin city and county as he acted as a trusted mentor and guiding light to students from all over Ireland during his 18 years as UCD Gaelic games executive in Belfield," said Costello.

GAA director-general Paraic Duffy said that Billings (left) was one of the most popular people in the Association.

"He was on our standing committee on playing rules so I spoke to him regularly on the phone. He'd often ring me up about all the issues of the day and always had interesting views. I was devastated to hear the news," said Duffy.

A member of the Dublin squad that won the All-Ireland title under Kevin Heffernan in 1974, Billings won an All-Ireland club medal with St Vincent's in 1976.

He is survived by his wife Annette, sons Liam, Cathal and Neal and daughter Hannah.

His remains will repose at his residence in Clontarf tomorrow (6-8pm). Burial on Saturday after 10.30am Mass in St Gabriel's Church, Dollymount.

Irish Independent