Two games in two days in two different codes for Coppinger
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
TWENTY-FOUR hours after Libby Coppinger helped the Cork senior camogie team get their All-Ireland title defence off to a winning start in Sixmilebridge on Saturday, she was lining out for the county footballers in the Munster senior final in Dungarvan.
This is the life of a dual inter-county player – two games in two days in two different codes.
Last weekend was made easier for the St Colum’s woman as Cork won both games. Coppinger started and played 51 minutes in the camogie team’s convincing 3-19 to 0-9 win against Clare on Saturday evening. Fast forward 24 hours and she started for the footballers in the Munster final victory against Waterford at Fraher Field, playing 45 minutes in the 2-14 to 0-9 win.
‘The football named their team during the week so I knew I’d be featuring for some part and we didn’t find out until Saturday morning that I was starting for the camogie team,’ Coppinger told the Star Sport Podcast this week.
The West Cork woman and Hannan Looney are currently Cork’s two dual players at senior level – both started in both games on Saturday and Sunday.
‘We knew this weekend was coming up but we want to play the matches. It’s great that there was no clash and that we could get the recovery in,’ Coppinger says.
‘We knew we would be in a battle going up to Clare but it was great to get the result and get the ball rolling in the camogie championship.’
That camogie win gave Coppinger a pep in her step heading into Sunday’s Munster football final. Still, her recovery ahead of the football decider was crucial. She cut her travel time down by getting a lift home to Kealkill with her mother, who met her at the Corbett Court in Fermoy after the camogie match on Saturday evening.
‘I came home to Kealkill on Saturday night to get a good sleep in my own bed. That was very important to get a good recovery in,’ she explains.
‘A good night’s sleep was crucial, and there was the basic foam rolling, stretching, all that jazz, making sure you have the fuel and that your body is recovered enough to go again on Sunday.
‘In a way it was annoying that the game was on Sunday evening for people travelling (to Dungarvan) but Hannah and myself couldn’t have asked for any more time. We got nearly 24 hours of recovery before we had to go again so that was good for us.’
Coppinger was back up to the city on Sunday afternoon. The Cork football team met at the Rochestown Park Hotel at 2.45pm for their pre-match meal and then travelled to Dungarvan by bus.
‘I was trying not to think about the night before because sometimes if you tell yourself you are tired you’ll end up worse off than you are,’ the Cork dual star says.
‘You’re better off putting it in the back of your mind and forgetting that you’ve played a match the day before.
‘The fact we won on Saturday was a big boost going into Sunday because we were in good form going into the game.’
Open communication lines between football boss Ephie Fitzgerald and camogie manager Paudie Murray have helped Coppinger and Looney this year. Both managers been very accommodating.
‘We don’t have to make any decisions, they tell us who we are with and where to be. That’s really helpful because you can just focus about putting in a performance at training and not worry about the other stuff,’ she says.
Coppinger is the type who wants to play in every game but she’s had to accept that she can’t. Otherwise, she’ll burn out.
‘You want to be fit, fresh and ready to go, and free from injury. It is tough when you feel you have more to give but you are being saved for another match,’ she admits.
‘I just want to give my best to both teams so if that means not playing in a certain match, that’s fine by me.
‘The one thing is that it’s tough with the club because I rarely get to go down to club training and play any club matches because of the demands of the inter-county scene.’
While the footballers have been handed a week off this week after winning the Munster title and because the All-Ireland series doesn’t begin until mid July, Coppinger and Looney are preparing for the senior camogie championship game home to Tipperary on Saturday evening.
Little rest for the dual stars, but with Munster senior camogie and football medals in their back pockets, and with both Cork sides in the reckoning for All-Irelands, they wouldn’t want it any other way.