Tough-tackling Coppinger excited for season ahead
DUAL-star Libby Coppinger is raring to go ahead of the return of the Littlewoods Camogie National League and says she has no injuries to report after overcoming an ankle issue.
‘The ankle if fine at the moment, touch wood,’ Coppinger told The Southern Star.
‘The extra couple of weeks off didn’t do them (ankles) any harm. So, as of now, I have no injuries to report but I don’t want to jinx myself so I won’t say any more about the ankles’.
This year’s shortened league programme begins with two tough tests against Tipperary (on Saturday and 2pm in Páirc Uí Chaoimh) and Waterford for a Cork team eager to get off to the best possible start.
As a tough-tackling defender, Libby Coppinger made her presence felt in last year’s run to the All-Ireland semi-finals. The St Colum’s and West Cork stalwart is delighted that the lifting of Covid-19 level 5 restrictions means games should come thick and fast over the coming weeks.
‘Nothing beats playing a full 15 v 15 league or championship camogie match,’ Coppinger said.
‘Our first game will be in Páirc Uí Chaoimh against Tipperary as well and that is something I and the other Cork players have been looking forward to.
‘The other bonus is the fact we will be playing in good weather and on good pitches throughout the summer.’
Despite her young age (24), Coppinger is one of the more experienced players on a new-look Cork senior panel.
‘I still feel like a newbie but it is important we have Paudie (Murray) bringing new, young Cork players through over the last couple of years,’ Coppinger said.
‘We will miss the big names who have stepped away and retired for sure but there is a very young core to the Cork team now which is good. That’s why it will definitely be a case of taking it one game at a time with Cork this year. We have to focus in on Tipperary and the first round of the league. We will only start to think about the next game against Waterford once that first one is completed. That’s got to be the way Cork approaches both the league and championship.’
A dual player, Coppinger has made her name in the club colours of St Colum’s and divisional jersey of West Cork. The camogie and ladies football inter-county star’s versatility in both codes is underpinned by her ability to play effectively in the forwards for Cork’s footballers and at the back for Paudie Murray’s camogie side.
‘The Cork starting team is not an easy one to get into so that’s why I’ll play wherever they tell me to,’ Coppinger said.
‘As long as I’m in that starting 15, I don’t care where Paudie (Murray) puts me!’
As a dual player, Coppinger has a schedule more hectic than most and though she’s happy to be back in action now, the lockdowns have given her some time to rest.
‘Like everyone else, I was open to a bit of time off at the start of the pandemic,’ the St Colum’s player said.
‘While I welcomed a bit of a break at the start, I found it very hard training on my own. Last year was a weird one alright and seemed to go on for ever. In the beginning, you had to train by yourself, then we (Cork) were allowed train together but the championship went on for so long, it became a slog.
‘Luckily, I had both sisters, Maggie and Katie, around and I managed to repeatedly drag them out. It was good to have someone like that around as I found it hard on my own.’
Here’s hoping Coppinger enjoys an uninterrupted season as Cork camogie will require the versatile player’s talents as they go in search of National League glory, beginning with Tipperary this weekend.