Cork ladies footballers release player to avoid 'disgraceful' fixture clash

The Cork ladies football management have released dual star Libby Coppinger to play camogie and avoid a fixture clash, writes Stephen Barry.

The clash, which has been labelled an “absolute disgrace”, sees the Cork ladies footballers face Galway in an All-Ireland quarter-final at 12.30pm in Mullingar, before the camogie side play Galway at 7pm in Limerick.

Libby Coppinger

Due to television commitments with TG4 and RTÉ, both games will be broadcast live and the associations have said they can’t be moved.

Thus, Ephie Fitzgerald announced via Twitter that: “In the interest of player welfare we are releasing Libby Coppinger to focus exclusively on camogie next Saturday #playersmustcomefirst”.

Fitzgerald told RedFM last week that it’s not good enough treatment of a player who has made major sacrificies to play both codes.

“It’s an absolute disgrace. Libby travels the bones of 100 miles a night at her own expense to get to training for camogie and football, only to be treated like this? I can’t for the life of me see how an athlete can be asked to play one match at half twelve and another at seven,” said Fitzgerald.

“We contacted them officially, and were told because of television commitments, the games couldn’t change.

“Libby is one of the most committed players I’ve ever met, never complains just gets on with it, trains hard and never misses a session. It really is a disgrace. She’s a very valued member of our squad as well as camogie. Players must come first and that doesn’t seem to be the case now.”

Cork have a history of successful dual stars, notably Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery, who have amassed 17 All-Ireland medals each between both codes, but were often faced with dilemmas over fixture clashes throughout their dual careers.

Buckley chose to only play camogie this year, while Corkery decided to take a year out from both codes.

“PLEASE don't do this to the players and managements again. CLASHING MATCHES #JUSTTALK”, Corkery tweeted.

Ladies football selector James Masters also expressed his frustration that a situation which the LGFA and Camogie Association had announced would not happen again has repeated itself a year after they reached an agreement. That June 2016 agreement was to play major fixtures on alternate weekend days.

Masters wrote: “This would never happen in d mens game (sic). Please show respect towards girls that are duel stars!”

Coppinger came on as a late sub for the ladies footballers in their recent victory over Monaghan, while she featured at midfield for the camogie team last time out.


By Stephen Barry

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