Meet the firefighter and former soccer international bidding for All Ireland glory this weekend
Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30
When you're headed into the white heat of an All-Ireland final against a team who have never lost one of their nine previous appearances, you need the sort of captain who always keeps a cool head in the face of fire.
Dublin's ladies footballers have exactly that in Lyndsey Davey, a born leader who has switched careers recently from a desk job to something much more dangerous.
The 26-year-old petite Skerries star actually used to work in Croke Park's financial department but has just given that up to pursue an unusual lifelong ambition.
"I'm a trainee fire-fighter for the Dublin Airport Fire Service," she explains, just seven weeks into her 14-week training period.
"They started recruiting earlier this year and I put my name in and thankfully got called up. I'm absolutely delighted, it's just something I wanted to do from a young age."
The petite 26-year-old from Skerries is the only woman among the airport fire service's latest batch of 16 recruits. Training is currently straight office hours but once qualified she will be working 12-hour shifts in the day and night.
"It is a very dynamic, versatile job," Davey insists.
"Bird scaring is one massive operation, we have to prevent birds from flying across the paths of planes and into engines. We will also be responding to any accidents and emergencies in the airport itself and, sometimes, responding to road-traffic collisions on the perimeter."
Playing elite-level Gaelic football has already helped her adapt to the new career.
"In fire-fighting a massive amount of it comes down to teamwork. You'll never be doing anything by yourself. That is reflected on the pitch too. It (playing for Dublin) was probably an advantage going for the job," she quips.
"We've been doing breathing apparatus training for the past fortnight and that's solely got to do with team-work.
"If you're going into a building you always go in with a partner. If someone's leading you into a smoke-filled room you're depending on them to keep on the wall and find your route in while your job is to sweep and search for casualties if needs be."
Davey has always guided Dublin on the pitch.
She is a gifted striker and was a schoolgirl soccer international at U-15 before concentrating on Gaelic.
She first played senior for her club at 14 and for Dublin at 15, won her first All-Star 10 years ago and is now facing into her fifth senior final.
Yet 2010 provided her only All-Ireland medal and last year yielded the greatest heartache of all as the Jackies looked home and hosed - 10 points up at the end of the third quarter - yet still got pipped by Cork's legendary women.
Davey's innate leadership is now needed even more, not just because Dublin are facing the same daunting opponents but because they have also lost almost a dozen players since then including former All-Stars like Sinead Aherne, Denise Masterson and Cliodhna O'Connor, the ultra-experienced Lyndsey Peat and key defenders like Leah Caffrey and Rachel Ruddy.
Winning the last two All-Ireland U-21 titles has provided them with plenty of young talent to plug the gaps and they have taken out two big Ulster teams - Monaghan and Armagh - en route to their sixth final in 13 years.
But, as always, Cork, attempting a five-in-a-row for a second time, will provide the litmus test.
"They are a fantastic side," Davey admits.
"They've kept the same core players and management throughout the years and that's one of the reasons why they've been so successful.
"It will all come down to our work rate on the day, we need to get a 60-minute performance, not a 50-minute one like we did last year.
"But I have total faith in the girls, they have put in so much hard work this year and I feel we'll really give them a good go this time."