While Molly Lamb has yet to lose a Leinster championship match in her fledgling intercounty career with Dublin, the Kilmacud Crokes woman says there are always reasons to be wary.
They face Laois on Sunday at Timahoe in the provincial semi-final with the sky blues starting their bid to win a sixth title in a row. She joined the panel in 2014 as a teenager in the midst that Dublin run, making her mark, eventually lining out in midfield in the first of three successive All-Ireland final against Cork.
Looking ahead to the Laois tie, Lamb says that, growing up, the O’Moore county always provided problems for Dublin.
“Growing up, we would have had very good matches with Laois. The year above me – the 1994 group – Laois had a particularly good team,” she told GazetteSport.
“Last season, a lot of their players went away for the summer but are back now so we wouldn’t be getting too caught up in thinking that we have beaten them in the past. You just never know what is going to happen.”
She cites a “lucky escape” against Westmeath in the 2015 final.
“It’s not as if we are walking through the competition. You always have to respect your opponent because you never know when you will get caught.”
Indeed, they will be keeping extra close tabs on the influential Maggie Farrelly and goal-getter Ciara Bourke. For 2017, Dublin have been managed by Mick Bohan, taking over from Greg McGonigle and he has mixed and matched for much of the league campaign.
“It was good this year with Mick giving everyone a chance because he is obviously getting to know everyone as well. Throwing some people in who haven’t got much senior game time before. It was good it was chopped and changed that everyone got a chance to impress.”
Since then, he has given the players a healthy space to focus on the club. For Kilmacud, they ran up wins over Clanna Gael Fontenoy and Fingallians, putting them in good shape for games in July against St Sylvester’s and Na Fianna.
“That will be the focus when they come along but now is very much county time. It is nice to compartmentalise it and there is respect for the club scene which makes it easier for the club to release you back to the county.”
For Lamb, giving back to the club and the community is something she will be doing in spades this summer. Along with fellow senior footballer Emer Sweeney, she is heading up the club’s multi-sports camps for five weeks at Kilmacud Crokes’ Glenalbyn home.
The camps are open to Crokes’ members and non-members alike and are an extra option in addition to the club’s regular hurling, Gaelic football and Kellogg’s Cul Camps where former Dublin hurler Niall Corcoan and Padraic McDonald will be key coaches.
“We have access to the basketball courts, the tennis, dodgeball, rounders as well as Gaelic football and hurling mixed in with loads of other things.
“Coaching is something I have always been involved in between the mini All-Irelands, the camps and going down to the nursery – it’s what I have always done in the summer.
“There’s such massive interest. We have had the mini All-Irelands on the last few weeks with 400 girls doing football and camogie; there’s 500 for hurling last week and then up 700 for the football this week.
“There’s huge interest and people around all summer so we are facilitating it for the kids.”
For Lambe, she has always been exposed to numerous sports and played international underage hockey before focusing on football.
“Growing up, I would have played basketball, swimming and everything. With the demands of training and so on, you only have time to play one sport but, ideally, I would love to be out playing as much as I could.
“Kids should try everything out and see what suits them best. You meet all kinds of different people and I would still have a good group of friends from hockey and that’s very important.”
**The Kilmacud Crokes multi-sports camps run in Glenalbyn from July 10 to August 11 with the camps open for all. For members, the club will run its Kellogg’s Cul Camp from July 3 to 7; a Silverpark coaching camp from July 10 to 28 and their GAA summer camps from August 14 to 25.
For more information, go to http://kilmacudcrokes.com/football/mini-all-ireland-kilmacudglenalbyn-multi-sport-summer-camp.