All Ireland ladies football final - Tipp captain Samantha fulfils childhood dream

All Ireland ladies football final - Tipp captain Samantha fulfils childhood dream

Tipperary captain Samantha Lambert from Ardfinnan.

Team captain Samantha Lambert will lead Tipperary into Sunday's All Ireland intermediate final against Tyrone - and the Ardfinnan woman is excited at the prospect.

“Without a doubt - you want to test yourself against the best. We want to be up senior - that's the aim. We want to be up against all the very best teams - teams like Cork and Dublin; you want to be playing against them the whole time,” the 26-year-old secondary school teacher says.

"I am very excited and I feel privileged to be the captain of such a great team. Hopefully, we can finish off the job and I will be walking up the steps of the Hogan Stand next Sunday. Training is going well and there is a great buzz around. Hopefully we can do the job.”

Tyrone have been playing in division two of the league so they have been getting real tough games. They are a very physical side; they are fast and they are strong. We are under no illusions about what they are going to bring to the game. It will be tough and there will be absolutely nothing in it," Samantha explained.

The Lambert family is powerfully associated with ladies football in Tipperary - Samantha’s aunt Antoinette was on the 1980 All-Ireland winning senior team while her cousin Claire was on the 2008 intermediate outfit which claimed the All-Ireland crown. Indeed, Samantha revealed this week that football is a huge part of her personal life.

“It has always been a dream for me to captain the Tipperary team - this is an absolute dream; to walk up the steps really would be a childhood dream come through. Football has been a huge part of my life and it is my life really - to be honest I don't know where I would be without it. It keeps me going day-in, day-out. So, I would be lost without it," she says.

The Tipperary captain, however, is experienced enough to know that dreams are for supporters to think about - the key to high performance from a playing point of view is to concentrate on the process involved in winning and not on the winning itself. If you concentrate on the job that needs doing the winning will look after itself.

“We are going to concentrate on the process the whole time - we are not going to think about the outcome at all. It's important that everyone does the job that they have been asked to do.

“If we all do what we can do it will, we hope, lead us to the outcome that we want. We just have to trust in the process that we have put together and trust in ourselves. I am sure that the outcome will look after itself."

Team member Maria Curley pays tribute to her captain - 

“Sam  just drives us on every single day of the week. She  is brilliant in fairness - we could not ask for a better captain. 

“And, Jen Grant, the vice-captain, is absolutely excellent. She is the backbone to us and we are so lucky to have her playing with us," Maria  said. 

The Templemore girl says there's no better feeling than preparing for a final  in Croke Park.

“We have been training for this for so long now at this stage we are just waiting for it. We are ready and everybody is just biting at the bit. 

“Training is going really well and everyone is just waiting for the game to come. 

“Everyone is looking forward to getting to the big stadium, to seeing the big field and we are hoping to see a lot of supporters there too,” the Templemore star added.

 “It will actually be my first time playing in Croke Park. So, personally I am really, really looking forward to it,” Maria  said.