“We’ve had phone calls from America, from the Caribbean, Wes Charles, and phone calls from Australia,” begins Pat Devlin.

Cabinteely will hold a festival of football on Sunday afternoon in tribute to Michael ‘Locker’ Davis, who has been a patient at Blackrock hospice.

Locker and Devlin go back 40 years, to the late Seventies, when they met and worked together with Leinster Senior League side TEK United.

They’ve since spent decades together with Bray Wanderers, most notably, Athlone Town, Drogheda United and, for the past couple of years, Cabinteely.

Dozens of League of Ireland stars past and present will line out to honour a man who’s had a lasting effect on all of their lives.

A League of Ireland selection, including current players like Dane Massey, Brian Gartland and the former Ireland call-up Gary Rogers will be managed by Keith Long.

A League of Ireland First Division selection, including current Cabinteely players, will also face off against the League of Ireland select, and a team made up of league legends will feature.

Well wishes have been sent from across the globe, from Wes Charles in Barbados to former internationals Steve Staunton and Alan Kelly, who unfortunately couldn’t attend.

For Devlin, the day will be particularly meaningful as he’s spent the better part of his life with Locker, travelling the length and breadth of the country to share their love of the beautiful game.

“Locker means everything to me,” Devlin tells the Dublin Gazette.

“He’s a mate, he’s a fella who’s the most professional fella you ever met when he’s asked to do his job. We know each other nearly 40 years.

“He’s a fantastic person, very loyal, great heart, very funny, a great character and great company. First and foremost, he’s a father and a grandfather and a husband.

“But to all of us he’s just Locker: kitman, does all the gear, someone to go to when people are in trouble and he’s always at the end of the phone whether we win, lose or draw.”

Devlin offers two stories that speaks to Locker’s big heart, including an act of kindness to Cork Tom, a character well known to anybody who follows the League of Ireland.

“There’s a story of one time at the Carlisle when he was doing all the washing. We were saying he’s doing too much washing – the washing machine was going all the time.

“I went out one morning and all I see is underpants, socks, shirts, everything up around the place. I said, ‘Locker, what’s happening here?’

“He said, ‘ah, I’m just getting a bit of washing done.’ I looked over to the corner and there was a pile of washing.

“There was an old man that lived across the road and, every couple of days, he brought his washing over to Locker and Locker did it without any nonsense or telling anyone. He just did it.

“We’d often come back from Derry, or wherever it may be, and we’d get late in the morning. Locker and I would always lock up and usually be the last ones out.

“One particular day it was minus one or minus two, and Tom had nowhere to go. We put him in my office in Bray and put coats over him and put a heater on.

“Locker said ‘you don’t move now and I’ll be back at half six and I’ll have your breakfast ready.’ And Locker went off and had his breakfast ready and Tom went on his way.”

The Michael ‘Locker’ Davis Testimonial Day begins at Stradbrook Park, Blackrock, on Sunday, August 25th at 2pm. Tickets are €10. An evening of music will follow at the Sallynoggin Inn from 8pm.

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