Athlone GAA club and the wider Westmeath GAA community are coming to terms with the untimely passing last week of club stalwart David Allen (43), following a relatively short illness. Davy won medals at every grade including senior medals in 1988 and 1998 with his beloved Athlone. He made his senior debut in 1985 and provided cover as sub-goalie as recently as last summer.
Despite his prowess as a player it is with his work as a coach with the underage section of Athlone GAA that Davy made perhaps his greatest contribution to the GAA. He was very much to the fore in reviving the fortunes of the underage section of the town club. It was fitting that he was at the helm when the u14 side he had looked after since they were u9s were crowned county champions after a great battle with Ballynacargy a few short months ago. The same side also represented Westmeath with distinction in the Feile last summer.
Despite his own health battle Davy remained driven in his quest to bring glory to his club and in particular to a group of players to whom he was more than just a coach. He was an inspiration and the ultimate role model. Indeed the week before he died he travelled to Mullingar to see many of his cubs in action for the Marist College against St Pat’s Navan.
His passing leaves a huge void to be filled in promoting Gaelic football in Athlone. The Allen and Daly families have blue blood running through their veins and the huge GAA turnout at both his removal on Saturday and burial on Monday last are testament to the esteem he was held in by all Gaels.
A proud member of the Defence Forces and talented musician, Davy had many feathers in his cap. He will be dearly missed by his wife Tara, daughter Kayleigh and son Shane as well as sister Myra, brothers Michael, Kevin, Jimmy, and Philip (Sid), in-laws, uncles, aunts, and a wide circle of friends.
It might sound like a cliché but Davy truly was one of life’s good guys. Unfortunately the ultimate referee blew the long whistle early for him when it seemed he had so much more to offer in this life.
I have no doubt he is already teamed up with those close to him who have gone ahead of him including his parents Mick and Maisie. I can picture him and Frank Starken picking an Athlone team that might deliver the Flanagan Cup in the coming years. If it does happen it would be a fitting tribute to both men.
Ni bheidh a leitheid ann aris.