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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

A return to hockey for 2017 All-Ireland winner and stepping back from Dublin's three-in-a-row bid

Molly Lamb won’t be playing with Dublin this year but is looking forward to captaining UCD at the O’Connor Cup this weekend.

UCD CAPTAIN MOLLY Lamb believes a break from football can be of huge benefit to players if it’s the right choice for them.

Molly Lamb celebrates Molly Lamb after Dublin's triumph in 2017. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Her time to take a step back from inter-county football came last year.

The Masters student had lined out at midfield for Dublin when they made the breakthrough to win the 2017 All-Ireland final, banishing three consecutive years of heartache in the process.

But while Dublin’s pedigree was on the rise in 2018, Lamb decided she needed to take a break and pursue other things.

She used her free time to go travelling through central America and she also visited her brothers who are living abroad.

Of course, there are aspects of inter-county football that she misses, particularly the camaraderie with her Dublin teammates who she has soldiered alongside for years.

She was among the crowd in Croke Park when Dublin collected their second consecutive All-Ireland title last September, and there was a brief moment where she longed to be out there playing.

But she’s content with the choice she made.

“I think it’s completely case-by-case,” she told The42 at the Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup Captains day last week.

“Last year we went to central America from November and we were back for Christmas, so if your calendar allows it, you can do something like that and still play county.

“If you feel you need a break, I think a break is deadly for people. If you look at the Dublin panel, a lot of them have taken a year to themselves. And you can always come back.

That’s a decision you make. It’s a decision I made last year and I was involved the year before so I was in that group and I obviously know the strength and depth of the panel, and the structures they have in place.

“So it means they’ll be getting to finals and possibly winning All-Irelands too. But I didn’t regret my decision. I was here [in Croke Park] screaming and shouting at them.

“There’s also like fear of missing out and thinking, ‘oh I could be in that’ but you just have to think [that] I had a great time in the other things that I was doing. You still want the Dublin girls to be winning matches, absolutely.”

And that break has spilled over into 2019. Between her commitments to a PME [Professional Master of Education] course in UCD and other things in her life, she’s not in a position to rejoin the Dublin squad.

But she’s happy to play the supporter’s role.

Mick Bohan Mick Bohan Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

She’s confident that Mick Bohan’s team can complete their charge for three-in-a-row, and she’ll support them all the way if they do manage to get over the line.

“They’ll just be building and building and trying to bring their levels up so that when push comes to shove, they’ll be able to compete,” Lamb adds.

“I think they can [do it]. But then you see the likes of Donegal pushing well, Mayo, Galway. You can never right off Cork.

“We’ll see in the summer I suppose. I think they can, I hope they do but you don’t know.”

In addition to playing college football, Lamb has also picked up hockey again, a sport she played a lot when she was in school. 

She knows Ireland hockey World Cup hero Deirdre Duke from the Kilmacud Crokes GAA club, and according to Lamb, Duke is a skillful footballer as well as being proficient in the stick sport.

Hockey may be on Lamb’s radar at the moment, but that’s not to suggest that her inter-county career is over.

The phrase ‘never say never’ comes up a few times during our chat and it’s clear that playing for Dublin is something she’ll consider again in the future. It’s just on ice for now.

Molly Lamb Molly Lamb in action during the clash between Railway Union and Cork Harlequins last November. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The 2019 Gourmet Food Parlour HEC O’Connor Cup is her priority this week where she will be hoping to lead UCD back to the summit of third-level football for the first time since 2016. 

Lamb was a UCD student during that time, but she was on Erasmus in Bordeaux during the O’Connor Cup and missed out on that triumph, which was their first time to capture the trophy in 10 years.

“DCU haven’t had major success with O’Connor Cup,” says Lamb as they prepare to face UCC in their semi-final later this afternoon at Abbotstown [throw-in, 3pm]. 

We’d really be looking to put UCD on the map. We want to be pushing to be contenders every year.

“We want to get our name on that cup and we’re hoping for the best. UCC are very good, they’re a very balanced team and just kind of strong everywhere.

“They’ve a lot of Cork girls and I think that helps them. They’re familiar with each other and play well with each other.”

Andy Dunne joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey to discuss Joe Schmidt’s undroppables and how France might attack Ireland’s predictability in The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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