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THREE-TIMES All-star women’s GAA player and Sk­er­ries na­tive Lyn­d­sey Davey, now just 28 years old and a vet­eran of the Dublin GAA team, is a wo­man of many tal­ents. Not con­tent with be­ing an icon in GAA, she is also a men­tor, pro­fes­sional firefighter and a cam­paigner on wa­ter safety. Join­ing Sk­er­ries Harps at five years old, Lyn­d­sey has played GAA for most of her life, hon­ing her skills both on the boys and girls teams be­fore mov­ing on to the se­niors at just 15 years of age.

Win­ning her first All-star the fol­low­ing year, she puts this down to hav­ing trained on the boys team from such an early age.

Thir­teen years on from mak­ing her Dublin de­but, Lyn­d­sey won her third All-ire­land ti­tle ear­lier this year.

Though she’s now con­sid­er­ing re­tire­ment, she has, she says, not come to a de­ci­sion yet, as GAA is still a ‘mas­sive’ part of her life.

Lyn­d­sey re­cently took part in an AIG Ire­land He­roes event in Croke Park, an ini­tia­tive which brought lo­cal kids in to meet their idols, build on self-con­fi­dence, prac­tice some cru­cial skills and learn the im­por­tance of sport in their lives.

Speak­ing to The Fin­gal In­de­pen­dent from a RNLI GAA wa­ter safety event in Southamp­ton, Lyn­d­sey ex­plains what hap­pened on the AIG Ire­land He­roes day: ‘It was ba­si­cally a cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity event to bring in some of the lo­cal schools from the area to en­cour­age the kids to get in­volved in sports.

‘So we had Gaelic, hurl­ing and camo­gie, and the Dublin play­ers and All Blacks were avail­able to an­swer ques­tions and do some skills work with them as well.

‘It was all about get­ting the kids in and show­ing them pos­i­tive role mod­els, get­ting them in­volved in sports and build­ing on their self-con­fi­dence.

‘Af­ter the ac­tiv­i­ties on the pitch, the kids were brought up for a Q&A with all the play­ers, so it was a great af­ter­noon for them.’

She says: ‘The kids could do 20 min­utes each do­ing dif­fer­ent skills, then were ro­tated around.

‘I was in­volved on the Gaelic side of it. It was my­self and Ni­cole Owens from the ladies side of things, then we had James Mc­carthy from then men’s side, and the All Blacks as well.

‘I would’ve done sim­i­lar events like that one over the years with them.

‘The kids got to meet all the county play­ers and got to learn new skills, so it was a very en­joy­able day for them.

‘I know from get­ting feed­back that the kids were re­ally ex­cited meet­ing all the Dublin play­ers and the All Blacks, so it was great.’

Com­ing from a GAA fam­ily her­self, Lyn­d­sey joined the nurs­ery camp of Sk­er­ries Harps at five years old.

The sport was, she says, very much en­cour­aged in the fam­ily, and some­thing she took to straight away.

Be­cause there was no girls team at the time, Lyn­d­sey joined the boys team be­fore a girls team was set up some years later: ‘There was no girls team at the time, so I would have played with the boys up un­til un­der 12s.

‘Sinead Cullen would have played along­side me as well, and we were the only two girls on the team.

‘It got to the stage on the team that we couldn’t play with the boys any more, so the club went and got a ladies team up and run­ning.

‘I was de­lighted, be­cause if there wasn’t a ladies team, I would have had to move to a dif­fer­ent club.

‘The ladies teams are ac­tu­ally big­ger than the boys teams now, so it’s re­ally grown over the past num­ber of years.

‘We now have two new ladies teams in the club at the mo­ment which is fan­tas­tic.

‘I think it was from play­ing with the boys that my skill level im­proved, and I think it was one of the rea­sons why I was able to join the Dublin se­nior team at such a young age.

‘I was 15 when I first got on to the se­nior team, so I think play­ing with the boys was a big fac­tor in me be­ing able to do that.’

Lyn­d­sey, who is one of three nom­i­nees for the 2018 TG4 Se­nior Play­ers’ Player of the Year award, says it was ‘def­i­nitely in­tim­i­dat­ing’ join­ing the se­niors, but that play­ers such as Martina Far­rell, who ‘took me un­der her wing’, were fan­tas­tic in show­ing en­cour­age­ment and of­fer­ing their sup­port.

She says that get­ting ‘back-to-back’ All Ire­land wins last year was a ‘fan­tas­tic achieve­ment’, adding ‘To fi­nally get over the line against Cork in front of 50,000 peo­ple was just bril­liant, and a very spe­cial oc­ca­sion to be part of.’

De­spite all the suc­cess, Lyn­d­sey is now con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the sport, for a num­ber of rea­sons.

Work com­mit­ments, in­juries and the strain of train­ing so hard are all fac­tors she says she’ll have to weigh up this win­ter, be­fore de­cid­ing on her fu­ture in the game: ‘I was very happy with my per­for­mance this year.

‘I think last year I had a cou­ple of in­juries that put me out for the sea­son, and I kinda only got back just be­fore the quar­ter fi­nal last year.

‘Thank­fully, this year has been in­jury-free, which has been fan­tas­tic, be­cause ob­vi­ously when you’re out in­jured you’re not able to train. But I didn’t have as many is­sues this year.

‘I haven’t de­cided about re­tir­ing, as I need to think about it.

‘There’s a few things in the pipe­line I have to con­sider, but I haven’t made a de­ci­sion.

‘There are dif­fer­ent things at work and stuff that I have to think about, but we’ll see what hap­pens.’

Lyn­d­sey Davey (left) in­spir­ing young peo­ple with her achieve­ments. (pic by Sports­file)

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