CORK dual star Libby Coppinger has paid tribute to county ladies' football manager Ephie Fitzgerald for his gesture which has resolved a fixtures-clash situation at the end of a tough week.
St Colum's player Coppinger is a member of the two Cork senior panels and both are scheduled to play on Saturday â the footballers meet Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-finals at 12.30pm in Mullingar, while Limerick is the venue for the camogie semi-final at 7pm, also against the Tribeswomen. Both the Camogie Association and the LGFA have cited live television coverage as the reason for the inability to switch the fixtures.
As a result, Coppinger, who spent the week coaching at a camp in Baile BhÃºirne, will line out with the camogie team after Fitzgerald and camogie boss Paudie Murray came to an agreement.
âTo be fair, I couldn't fault either manager, they've both done so much to try to sort it all out,' she said.
âI spoke to Paudie Murray on Tuesday and he said that they were going to give it one last go, but then when it was known that that a decision had to be made, I said to the two of them that it'd be best if they discussed it among themselves and came to an arrangement.
âI have to thank Ephie for releasing me to play with the camogie team. Both of them have been very good to me and now, hopefully, the two Cork teams can win on Saturday and we'll have another go.
âIt's tough, you're caught between a rock and a hard place, you know you're probably going to be letting someone down.'
The possibility of the double-booking became clear to Coppinger just before the football qualifier victory over Monaghan.
âObviously, we had known that the camogie semi-final was the 19th as soon as we topped our group,' she says.
âWhen the qualifier draw was made then, you know which side you'd be on but I didn't want to say anything before we had beaten Monaghan. I let the management know then straight after that.'
Last year, she was similarly caught as the Cork intermediate camogie side played the same day as the senior ladies' footballers.
âI played both that day, but the it was less of a distance between the games,' she says.
âThe footballers won the first match and so I was going on adrenalin but I felt my body tightening up by the end of it. I don't think it's feasible to play both this time, I'd be fearful of messing up both teams' chances.
âIt's a pity that it comes down to this, it's hard when there are two separate associations involved. I just hope that this will highlight the need to avoid the situation in the future.'
Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray is disgusted that the clash has arisen, and says that promises were made two years ago that such a thing wouldn't happen again.
â(Ladies' football manager) Ephie Fitzgerald and myself have correspondence from the respective associations saying this wouldn't happen,' he says.
âThe thing is, the fixtures have been known since last November, they'd have seen that there was a possibility of a clash on August 19th and a good chance of Cork and Galway â two dual counties â making the camogie semi-finals.
âThe Cork board raised the issue a while back with Croke Park; it's not like this is something which has just popped up.
âLibby Coppinger travels up from beyond Kealkil six times a week to train with the two teams â and for that?'