KILKENNY GAA great Elaine Aylward has hailed St Colum’s Libby Coppinger for her performance in the All-Ireland senior camogie final.
Aylward, who lives locally in Enniskeane, has been impressed by Coppinger’s development into a ‘superb full back’. The Carbery woman was one of Cork’s top performers in the recent 1-13 to 1-12 defeat to Kilkenny at Croke Park.
‘I think Libby Coppinger had a huge battle with Miriam Walsh, as does everyone who takes on Miriam at full-back,’ 2009 Camogie All-Star Aylward told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘Both in the semi-final and final, I thought Libby had a really great game and I think she’s really developed into a superb full back for Cork.
‘It was a position they struggled with when Laura Tracey moved out to centre back to replace Gemma O’Connor. There was a bit of a void at full back for a while but Libby has really developed into that role and been a really solid number three.
‘They had fine performances all over the field but I think Libby Coppinger and Katrina Mackey were the two that really stood out,’ said Aylward.
St Colum’s dual star Coppinger is one of several Carbery players who have impressed for Cork in recent years. Enniskeane’s Orla Cronin was named on the 2020 Camogie All-Stars team. Ciara O’Sullivan is flying the Newcestown flag at senior level.
‘You need role models that you can really aspire to, ones you can see down in your local pitch I suppose. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning or whatever it is. Libby, Orla (Cronin) and Ciara O’Sullivan of Newcestown certainly are those kinds of players,’ Aylward explains.
‘When a young girl in Enniskeane or Colum’s, or Newcestown, wherever it is, sees Orla Cronin down in the field or sees Libby Coppinger, she realises that it’s quite possible.
‘It really is a tangible dream to be able to play for Cork and they’re there for the little bit of experience as well. They’ll be huge players for their clubs when they come back into the setup over the next couple of months.
‘It’s huge to have those real life role models in a club,’ Aylward concluded.