Time to allow more physical contact insists Cork dual star
LIBBY Coppinger admits that camogie can be ‘not an enjoyable game to watch’.
The All-Ireland winning Cork star agrees that there are too many frees in camogie that never allow a game to build up momentum – and she wants the game to be more free-flowing.
In recent weeks, her Rebel team-mate Amy O’Connor said camogie can be ‘a bit boring to play’, ‘boring to watch’ and has become ‘just free after free after free.’
Cork manager Paudie Murray also hit out recently at the camogie rule book and the lack of physical contact on the field. Management and players want the rule book to be updated to allow a more physical game to compliment the strength and conditioning of modern-day camogie players.
On Twitter, Rebel legend Gemma O’Connor tweeted: ‘How many more times do players have to say it. Players are crying out for change. The game needs to be revised urgently. Free flowing matches are necessary to allow players showcase their strength speed and ability.’
St Colum’s Libby Coppinger agrees with her team-mates and manager.
‘We’d all prefer less frees and more open play. You feel sometimes like the game hasn’t got going,’ she says.
‘Obviously we were delighted with the All-Ireland win and a free won us the All-Ireland so we can’t complain too much but it’s not really an enjoyable game to watch.
‘If they played advantage more and allowed the game to be more free-flowing, the players would be happier and the fans would see a better game.
‘There are a lot of frees, too many. My main issue is the lack of consistency at the moment. You don’t know what you will be pulled for and what you won’t.
‘There are some rules that there are no need for in camogie. I’m not sure what will happen but at least it’s been talked about anyway which is good.’
Dual inter-county star Coppinger also pointed out the improved strength and conditioning programmes that elite camogie players follow so she says they’re well able to get more physical.
At the moment, they’re not allowed shoulder or move into an opponent’s body.
‘Before there wouldn’t have been any strength and conditioning but now both football and camogie have come on leaps and bounds in strength and conditioning, so everyone is best prepared physically. I don’t think it would be any trouble to have a bit more physical contact in the game,’ she said.
The Kealkil woman was a monthly award winner at the West Cork Sports Star Awards on Saturday and on Sunday morning she was up in the city early to get the bus to Tipp for Cork’s camogie national league opener. The Rebels won, and Coppinger scored.
It’s the start of a busy season that will see her juggle both inter-county camogie and football again. She’s adamant that there is room at the top level for dual players and says the open lines of communication between camogie boss Paudie Murray and football manager Ephie Fitzgerald makes her life easier.
‘Ya, I’m going to do the two of them again. That’s the plan. I think it’s going to work okay. There’s myself, Hannah Looney and Ciara McCarthy,’ she explained
‘Paudie and Ephie know that talking to each other is the main thing and they can organise where we need to be, what time and who we are meant to be training with. They’ve both been very accommodating and their support is great.’
Coppinger wants to avoid fixture clashes that have made headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent seasons. So, when the Munster LFGA released its football championship fixtures lately, she was delighted to see the provision that games will be moved if they clash with camogie matches. That’s a step in the right direction.
‘Common sense and co-operation is all that we are ever looking for, to see that there is a clash on the horizon and to be able to plan ahead. It was great to see that on the calendar, to know that if there is a clash then there already is a plan so it’s one thing less to have to worry about,’ she said, keen to keep the tradition of Cork dual players alive.
‘Cork is one of the only counties who have been able to do this successfully for years, we have great role models in Briege (Corkery) and Rena (Buckley), and I will keep it going as long as I can,’ she said.
‘It’s important to keep that tradition. I play both because I love the two of them. It’s impossible to chose between them. It’s becoming a lot more demanding. There are more games every year, the intensity and the standards are getting higher every year too. But I love both so I’ll keep playing both.’
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