The City’s Alison O’ Hanlon talked to Dublin Ladies GAA All Star Lyndsey Davey about the commitment of playing for your county and her hopes for the future.
It’s been a year of highs and lows for Dublin vice captain Lyndsey Davey whose side were beaten by Cork in a one point defeat in this years All Ireland Final.
Davey also received an All Star award, along with three of her team-mates, for her performances throughout this year’s championship.
“It was a great honour to have been even nominated and I was very shocked to have won as I was up against some brilliant players. It was a great achievement for Dublin to get 11 nominations and I feel privileged to be one of the four Dublin players to have won an All-Star”, Davey told The City.
But success like this doesn’t come easy or without commitment. Davey started playing Gaelic at 5 years old for Skerries Harps and progressed on to play with the boys teams until under 14 when a girls team was set up in the club.
Davey spoke of how much of a commitment GAA players have to give to play county football, but insists that the success is a just reward for the sacrifices she has to make,
“Players have to give massive commitment when playing county football. The standard of Ladies Gaelic is increasing every year and girls are training like professional athletes while still holding down a full time job or education. Even in terms of nutrition players have to be very disciplined.
“At times it can be difficult as you can’t be going out at the weekends with your friends when you have training or are playing matches. However, when you get the opportunity to represent your county, especially in an All-Ireland final, it’s an easy sacrifice to make.”
Given that most GAA players train as much and as hard as many professional athletes, the 25 year old said given the opportunity she would love to play Gaelic football at a professional level, but it’s the love of the game that keeps her going, “I suppose if the option was there then I would but it’s not really something I think about. I play Gaelic because I enjoy it and I love playing for Dublin.”
“Even if there was a chance to play Gaelic for Ireland I would be interested. There was a female International Rules game a few years ago but unfortunately I was unable to play. If the opportunity was to arise again then I would love to play.”
Davey also commented on the highly topical area of media coverage that female athletes receive and the coverage gap that seems to be closing in Ireland in the last few years.
“I think over time that gap is starting to close and female sports are getting increased media coverage. This is helped by the success of Katie Taylor and the ladies Irish rugby team and I think Stephanie Roche being short listed for goal of the year is a massive boost to Irish female athletes. It was brilliant when AIG announced their sponsorship of all Dublin teams, including the ladies, as this has gone a long way in helping to close that gap and I hope other sponsors start to do the same.”
Although Davey’s September didn’t have quite the ending she hoped for she was honoured when her fellow team-mates picked her as their Player of the Year.
“I think to win any individual award is always a nice achievement but the players player is definitely a special one to me, as it was my team mates who voted for me. So many Dublin players had a great season this year and I think that was proven when we received 11 All-Star nominations so to have been picked as the players player of the year was a massive honour for me.”