Midfield maestro Molly

by James Hendicott
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KILMACUD Crokes star Molly Lamb has perhaps the hardest challenge on offer as Dublin take on Cork in the All Ireland Ladies’ football final this Sunday. She will be squaring up to a Cork midfield who – in Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery – have more than 30 All-Ireland medals between them across the codes.
“Our midfield’s changed a bit over the matches this year,” Lamb said ahead of the final.
“I started the last day [against Mayo] but not the day before that [against Donegal], so it’s been really competitive and that helps. I’ll find out if I’m playing the week leading up to it. But it’s clear we’ve improved as a squad.
“We have to respect what Cork have done over the last few years, it’s incredible. If a lad’s team had won ten All Ireland’s we’d be hearing a lot more about it. But I don’t think we’d think too much about it,” she added. “They’ve been so dominant that we’re used to it, rather than spooked by it. We’ll do our own thing.”
Lamb emphasised the need for GAA fans to simply see the ladies games in order to realise the quality on offer, and asked that as many as possible make their way to what’s expected to be a record turnout at Croke Park.
“I think a lot of people aren’t exposed to the ladies’ game. I think people should come down, and once they break the mould they’ll keep coming, and see the quality on offer. It helps that there aren’t senior games scheduled at the same time this year.
“In the past, a lot of people would have gone to watch lads’ senior matches instead of our final. There being no clashes is important.”
Lamb is at the head of a generation of Kilmacud Crokes players expected to make a huge impact on the Dublin panel, with five or six players consistently around the Under-21 panel over recent years.
“The last few years there’s consistently been four or five from Crokes on the minor team, which is incredible,” she explains. “My year there was Ciara Egan, who’s now on the senior panel, and Michelle Davoren who’s gone travelling this year.
“There’s an awful lot coming through. There are a few who have played all the way up the age groups. It’s looking seriously good.
“Julia Buckley’s been particularly good, she’s come up to give us some opposition ahead of the All-Ireland, and she’s made quite an impact.
“We don’t feel like we’re very far behind Foxrock Cabinteely and St Brigid’s. Our problem is we’ve a very young team and it’s difficult to get players available all summer. It’s just about trying to keep everyone in Dublin.”
It seems Crokes’ players might well form the heart of the Dublin team in a few years but, for Lamb, the moment is now: an All-Ireland victory against domineering Cork on Sunday would mean everything; Dublin believe their time has come.

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