SPEND a couple of hours in David Hickey's company and you can run the full gamut of emotions.
You'll laugh at his memories playing Waterford club football; you'll thrill to the passion in his voice as he speaks about Dublin's enduring rivalry with Kerry; and a lump rises in the throat as he speaks about the sadness in the operating theatre as he and his team of transplant surgeons remove vital organs from a deceased child.
There's hope and optimism when he describes the other side of his profession – the joy of restoring normal life to a man, woman or child whose lives and families have hitherto been dominated by the need for regular sessions of kidney dialysis.
Above all, you are reminded of the debt owed to Dublin and the GAA in general by the force of nature that was Kevin Heffernan.
Today, at the end of a week during which he was involved in four transplant operations, Hickey travels south as team doctor for the Dublin squad which prepares for the latest chapter of their rivalry with Kerry in Killarney tomorrow.
"Dublin v Kerry is right up there with the biggest derbies in the world, and the All-Ireland final two years ago was the greatest game of all time, way ahead of '77 (All-Ireland semi-final) in my opinion," he says.
"Both teams contribute to any final and Kerry were a great team, but I have never experienced anything like the sound in Croke Park when Kevin McManamon's goal went in. You could feel the Hogan Stand actually vibrate."
A selector with Pat Gilroy, the three-time All-Ireland winner was thrilled at new manager Jim Gavin's invitation to serve in a medical capacity with the Dubs.
"When he asked me to be the team doctor, I was delighted. I like this group of people. As a group of players I have great time for them and great faith in them, they're good company, they're very good kids," he says.
Hickey was only a kid himself when he became the youngest player ever to appear on the Dublin senior team at 17 in 1969.
He wore the blue jersey for over 12 years, playing in six successive All-Ireland finals, winning three, and also winning two National League titles.
The Raheny clubman also played rugby in France for La Rochelle and, would you believe, performed for Ballytruckle, Co Waterford at the back end of his career.
"I enjoyed it very much, but I wasn't much good down there really," he said. "I made the front page of the 'Munster Express'. I got taken off in one of the matches, and they had a picture of me and the caption read 'good enough for the Dubs but not for Ballytruckle'."
In terms of being good enough for the Dubs, Hickey was certainly ready, willing, and able as a 15-year-old to make his debut for the minor team managed by Kevin Heffernan. He moved on to senior in '69, and spent five fruitless campaigns before Heffo took over the Dubs prior to the start of the 1973-74 season.
The rest is history, and Hickey asserts that without Heffernan, GAA in the capital would have sunk without trace.
"I'd been playing five years and we had lost in the first round of the Leinster championship every year. The place was actually dead as regards the GAA," he says.
"Dublin wouldn't be playing Gaelic football without him and the team he created. Kevin came along and gave the supporters a Stretford End experience in Dublin.
"He generated so much enthusiasm for the game and that's his legacy."
Football offers a diversion from the day job for Hickey. As a transplant surgeon, he bridges the gap between death for one person and a new life for another.
"Certainly removing organs from a dead child is a very harrowing experience because everyone's in tears, but you do it," he said.
"I'm a sort of a conduit between the living and the dead. I take organs from some young person that has died and transfer them into someone who's dying, and life is changed on both sides because the family which donates the organs are major beneficiaries of what has been a hopeless situation for them.
"We get fantastic letters from families who donate telling us how much consolation they've got from a horrible event by knowing that five or six people have got new lives."
Hickey got a second chance himself by overcoming a bout of cancer a few years ago and he hasn't looked back since.
He has also had a huge affinity with Cuba since he first visited the island on a medical mission some years ago.
In 1999, when the Dubs of '74 were honoured before the All-Ireland final, he took off his jacket to reveal a tee-shirt bearing the words 'End Cuban Blockade'.