Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO Lyndsey Davey celebrating Dublin's recent Division 1 league final win.
# One More Year?
'With Covid, we were going, 'What else are you going to do?'' - long-serving Dub keeps coming back for more
A Dublin senior footballer for longer than she hasn’t, Lyndsey Davey delves deeper into her reasons for keeping going.

LYNDSEY DAVEY HAS been a Dublin senior footballer for much longer than she hasn’t.

She’s only 31 — turning 32 in August — but is certainly feeling a little old given she started out in 2004.

Her debut came at the tender age of 14, as a Junior Cert student. Now, she’s in campaign number 18, a five-time All-Ireland champion and All-Star, and one of the biggest names in the game.

That impressive stat, the fact that she’s been a Dublin player longer than not, brings a smile to her face.

“I have been very fortunate with the career I have had with Dublin,” she nods.

“We were always lacking that little something but Mick [Bohan] is such a fantastic manager and he really creates an environment that allows players to excel.

“It is really exciting to still be involved and to be enjoying it. There is such a great bond within the team there and when you are out playing on the pitch and having fun with your friends, what more do you want?”

Davey has said ‘one more year’ for quite some time now, and was adamant 2020 would be her last until Covid-19 hit and the world changed overnight.

While she spoke of her uncertainty to The42 earlier last summer, her mind was made up after December’s All-Ireland final win over Cork. In her own head, she was done; four-in-a-row the perfect note to finish on. 

“Yeah,” she picks up, “and I suppose if you look at the emotion between myself and Siobhan McGrath, I definitely thought that was coming to the end and Mick probably thought we were gone.

“I think as Covid progressed and during the off-season my decision was going to be based on a lot of the other senior girls coming back. And then when we lost Noelle [Healy], if one or two other senior players had gone I think it would have tipped the scales but thankfully, Mick chatted to a lot of us as a group and we all agreed to give it one last go.

“With Covid and stuff, the more lockdown was going on, we were going, ‘What else are you going to do?’ You are not going to go off travelling anywhere, even pubs and restaurants were still in lockdown so why not go back and give it another go?

“I have to say it has been such an enjoyable experience so far. I definitely made the right decision in going back and I am really excited to be part of it.”

lyndsey-davey-and-siobhan-mcgrath-celebrate Ryan Byrne / INPHO Davey with Siobhan McGrath after the 2020 final. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

That certainly leaves the question: is this it, so? One last roll of the dice through the Drive for Five after pondering retirement and pulling the plug for so long.

Not necessarily.

“Look, I will just probably see… the focus is on football at the moment and I am enjoying it as much as I can. I suppose you avoid getting tied in to saying, ‘This is the last year’. I am just focusing on enjoying this year of football and we will see what happens after that.”

It’s always interesting to hear why players on the road keep coming back for more.

For some, it’s the success, medals and silverware, that determination and will to be the very best they can be driving them on year on year. For Davey, like many others, there’s much more simple reasons at play.

The Skerries Harps forward makes one thing clear; it’s certainly not the medal chase motivating her.

“No, absolutely not. That is not what is driving us to keep coming back. Mick is creating an environment and we all know that we are so lucky to be part of it.

“Even when you see the progression of ladies football from a couple of years ago to now, the exposure it is getting is just brilliant. Even with all the league games being televised and it is the same with the championship there is just such excitement around ladies football at the moment.

“What keeps driving us to come back is just the friendships within the team and when you enjoy playing it so much, it is a big decision to walk away because it is those friendships you are going to miss the most.”

Leaving the jersey in a better place is another big motivation.

“Absolutely, and for me that is definitely one of the things in the back of my mind, even with the thoughts of stepping away last year, that there are a lot of younger girls coming into the set up and you really want to make sure that you leave Dublin in a good place when you do make that decision to step away.

“But after seeing our performances so far this year, and you have seen that youth come in there, there’s a lovely mix of kind of more experienced players driving on the younger players.”

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lyndsey-davey Bryan Keane / INPHO In full flight in the league. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Having used 31 players through the league en route to lifting just their second-ever Division 1 title, Dublin have found the perfect balance and blend of late.

While Healy was the one retirement blow, former Ireland rugby international Hannah Tyrrell was the find of the campaign while young players like “absolutely amazing” teenage goalkeeper Abby Shiels, Hannah Leahy, Niamh Hetherton and Caoimhe O’Connor have all stepped up.

With experienced duo Ciara Trant and Carla Rowe just making their respective returns in the decider win over Cork, there’s more yet to come as the focus switches to championship.

It all starts again against Tyrone at Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday [throw-in 2pm].

“They’re not a team we’ve come up against very often,” Davey concludes.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, our process is still the same, we’ll prepare for it like any other game. Certainly won’t be taking anything for granted.

“It’ll all be about focusing on getting our individual battles right on the day, driving our own performances and hopefully that’ll be enough to get us over the line.”

- Additional reporting from Sinéad Farrell.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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