LYNDSEY Davey arrived into Parnell Park, and the memories began to dance.
t was Cumann na mBunscol finals day. She recalled her school days in Réalt na Mara, Skerries.
They were in the final at Croke Park. Davey was only in third class. Aged 9. Yet she can still remember coming on as a sub.
Little did she know then what a career she’d have in the Dublin blue. She has played in Croke Park so many times now, even on the biggest day of all.
She has also graced the Donnycarney lawn on several occasions, and she was charmed by last week’s football finals.
She came to present the Cups and the medals. Jerry Grogan introduced her as “a superstar.” And it’s so true.
Davey made the time to speak to every child, to offer a word of congratulations and encouragement. The pocket of confidence that could make all the difference.
Among those whom she chatted to was Saoirse O’Callaghan, captain of St Martin’s of Brittas. Saoirse knows all about superstars – her uncle is David O’Callaghan, a hurling genius.
The officials talked about how Davey made the day even brighter for the children. Hopefully, over the coming weeks and months, they’ll get to see her playing for the Dubs.
She is one of Mick Bohan’s favourite footballers. And it’s easy to see why. It’s her attitude, her industry and willingness to put in the hard yards for the team. The essential team player. Team before self.
So often, you’d see her drift back into deep defence to get her hands on the ball and begin a Dublin attack.
She teaches the best lesson of all – be the best you can be. Play to your strengths, and keep going till you hear the bell.
She represented the Dublin Cumann na mBunscol in Belfast in 2000. “She still treasures the medal,” says Grogan.
She has won a few more medals since. With young Saoirse, she posed for a picture with the Sam Maguire. The Brendan Martin has often been in her company.
And maybe it will be again this season. Nobody will be trying harder to win back the prize.
Yet no matter what happens, Davey’s wish is that the children who played in last week’s Cumann na mBunscol finals will all go on to enjoy the sport as much as she did. She understands, better than most, that that is the one medal that will never lose its shine.
Tony was legend at Parnell’s
PARNELL’S through and through, Tony Fitzpatrick. He also did so much for Dublin, and as Brendan Conlon related: “He was a proud Down man.”
He contributed enormously to his beloved Coolock club. “He served as Chairperson, Treasurer and Ladies Football manager,” revealed Conlon.
Back in 2010, he led Parnell’s to the Dublin Ladies’ Football Intermediate Championship final in Parnell Park.
He arrived earlier in the week to the Donnycarney venue to help promote the event. He was interviewed by Mick Hanley for Dublin City FM. Hanley could have no finer guest. Tony loved the game, and all the people in it. He could see the big picture. He had a sense of fun.
Fitzpatrick was the easiest and the best of company. So many lovely messages came in after his sudden passing last month.
One of the nicest of all came from his Dublin County Board colleague, Paul McLoughlin, who spoke of how “Tony brightened up many a long meeting with his wit and sharpness.
“He was an absolute gent,” continued McLoughlin. “And his passion and loyalty for his club, Parnell’s, was to be so admired.”
Paul highly valued his friendship and his advice. And he wasn’t alone. Tony was a giver. For club and county. He served as the CODA officer for the Dublin Ladies’ Football County Board.
And as McLoughlin so rightly declared: “Tony’s legacy will live on.”
County is preparing to stage Féile funderland
THE John West Dublin Féile is just around the corner – on the weekend after next, April 23 and 24..
The children are counting down the days. The event does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a real festival of sport.
The beauty of the Féile is that everyone gets to play. It’s 15-a-side on a full pitch. 15 minutes each way in a Group system, with a minimum of three games.
There’s unlimited substitutions, and the sub coming on and the player coming off exchange batons.
And that about sums up sport. Passing the torch. Lighting a light in a child’s eye. Making sure they enjoy every second in the boots.
Nobody will remember the results, but all will recall the tea and the sandwiches. And the smell of the chips.
Féile underlines the value of sport. Clubs coming together to host one big party. For the VIPs – the kids.
It’s all about fun. And fair play. And the warmth of the welcome from the hosts.
Féile is one of the biggest sporting events in Europe.
Thousands of young players take part.
“Generations have experienced the joy of Féile,” states the GAA President, Larry McCarthy.
The flags will be flying. The pitches will be freshly marked. And the young players will step onto a magical stage on a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives.