DUBLIN captain Lyndsey Davey was born to make a difference.
The Skerries star is in the midst of a career change. But, just like on the pitch, nothing fazes the capital’s deadliest forward. From working in finance, Davey is now one of the newest recruits in the Dublin Airport Fire Service, undergoing a rigorous 14-week firefighter training programme.
The only female in a class of 16, the 26-year-old is where she’s meant to be – in the thick of it. And, against Armagh in today’s senior ladies football All-Ireland semi-final (Parnell Park, 2pm, live on TG4), you can expect the same.
The entire Dublin squad in fact will be all in. They have the poker chips to prove it.
Last summer, a motivational speaker by the name of Gian Paul Gonzalez visited the squad. A former high school teacher, Gonzalez turned the New York Giants’ 2011 season around with just two words – ‘All in’.
The night before their Christmas Eve game against their rivals, the Jets, five letters turned men into Giants. Until then, there was little hope that Eli Manning’s squad was going to make the playoffs. Something was missing. But, a players’ chapel meeting with Gonzalez that night inspired them to go on a run like no other. He gave them each a poker chip on which they wrote ‘all in’. It was to be a reminder to each other that when the chips were down, they were all in. The following spring, they would win the the Super Bowl. All in.
For Davey, Gonzalez’ motto rings true, now more than ever given the exodus following last year’s heartbreaking All-Ireland final defeat to Cork.
“Gian Paul spoke to the team last year, and before this year’s quarter-final against Monaghan he popped by to see us again off his own back, which was great.
“It was a special moment, and we still have our poker chips. It’s something we’ve been trying to live by for the past year, and especially this season given that we’re such a young team in transition. We’re taking it one game at a time, so ‘all in’ is a slogan we’ve been sticking by,” admitted All-star-winner Davey, who’s also a former underage Irish soccer international.
The departure of veterans Sinéad Aherne, Denise Masterson, Lindsay Peat and Siobháin McGrath was always on the cards despite how tough it was to take Cork’s 10-point comeback last September. But, under the guidance of Gregory McGonigle, Dublin have risen to the challenge again, and are now 60 minutes closer to redemption.
For some, the Leinster champions have yet to be tested, but Davey is adamant the Sky Blues have been put to the sword.
“Monaghan really put it up to us in the quarter-final. It was a game that could have gone either way. Even when they drove at us towards the end, we dug deep and held on, and I’ve no doubt Armagh will do the same.”
As regards the possibility of a double header with the men’s football replay against Mayo in Croke Park today, Davey believes it’s a missed opportunity.
“It would have been brilliant to have had the game as a curtain-raiser in Croker and a fantastic opportunity to promote ladies football. It’s disappointing it couldn’t happen, but hopefully, with the time being changed to 2pm, we’ll get a bit of support first in Parnell Park.”