Davy Byrne The Perfect Role Model For Budding Footballers

Davy Byrne - Dublin GAA

From Olafs to the big time with five All Irelands and Davy Byrne is still only 25

Davy Byrne - Dublin GAA


Definitely not the prolific superstar, more unassuming. Davy Byrne is the epitome of patience. Breaking into the Dublin Senior Football Starting 15 is a fantasy for so many budding footballers in the county. Many have tried, dancing on the fringes for many years only to wither away. But for the St. Olafs youngster, sitting on the bench was never going to be something he was content with.

As the captain of Dublin’s All Ireland winning Minor team in 2012, Byrne and his team mates bridged a 28 year game in the competition. And many believed this was the new crop that would bring Dublin kicking and screaming into the latter parts of this decade. Alongside him that year were names like Eric Lowndes, Niall Scully, Cormac Costello and Conor McHugh. Five players who have stood the test of time from a large panel of talent.

Davy got the call up ahead of the 2013 Championship campaign. But between injuries, and an apprenticeship with it’s own demands, it meant Byrne really only came to the fore this year. And that was despite the return of former full back Rory O’Carroll. He’s weathered all temptations to drift away.

Eight starts in nine championship games, Byrne has been deployed in a role he appears astutely comfortable in. In two epic battles with Kerry to round off an historic year, the Olafs man was given the freedom of the back in the drawn final, and making made Paul Geaney’s life a misery in the replay. If Byrne’s worth was doubted before this year, that doubt has been banished.

The waiting made Byrne hungrier

“It can weigh you down.” Byrne told Sports Joe at last week’s AIG Press Day.

“Even mentally it’s tough. So every year you’re going out to try to get your place in that starting 15.”

“Every year, it takes such a time commitment and such a huge lifestyle commitment out of your life that you don’t want to do it to sit on the bench and not play.”

If anything perseverance paid off. Five All Ireland medals later and Davy Byrne has just put in the best shift in his Inter County career. He kept others out of the team that would have been selected in previous campaigns. And is only happy to have contributed in a huge way to Dublin’s five in a row success.

“I’ve been on the bench a lot of times and those guys have been out on the pitch. But, I suppose, it’s just the nature of the sport, different guys are going to get to represent the team every day.”

“I think whenever you don’t play you’re obviously delighted for the team but there’s obviously a little bit of individual disappointment there. And luckily for me this year that wasn’t the case. It’s always going to be a little bit more special when you’re out on the pitch.”