BY DENIS HURLEY
CORK camogie manager Paudie Murray believes that a ‘less is more’ approach has paid off for St Colum’s star Libby Coppinger this year.
Dual player Coppinger has been one of the All-Ireland champions’ strongest performers en route to Saturday evening’s All-Ireland semi-final against Galway at the LIT Gaelic Grounds (7.15pm) and Murray ascribes much of the credit to a decision to manage her workload.
‘To me, Libby is having her best year with Cork,’ he says.
‘One of the key areas we looked at this year for her was freshness and recovery time. Myself and Ephie [Fitzgerald, Cork ladies’ football manager] would speak every week and we decided to keep her level of games to the minimum.
‘Libby would like to play every game, but there’s no way that that’s sustainable, especially when she’s travelling such a long distance. This
year, things have been monitored and we’re seeing the
Another West Cork woman, Enniskeane’s Orla Cronin is another Murray will be counting on.
‘I’ve always said that Orla is the best centre-forward in the country,’ he says.
‘Her movement is outstanding and she always makes intelligent runs. Both she and Libby will have to play to their potential if we’re to stand a chance of winning.’
Cork reached the last four after five wins from five in the group stage.
‘Overall, you’d have to be happy,’ Murray says.
‘We wanted to develop a squad so we were giving a lot of the younger players their chance and rotating.
‘In saying that, we can’t afford to be missing anyone for the semi-final. We do have a few players carrying knocks and we’re just hoping that they’ll be available for Saturday.’
Galway haven’t been in the All-Ireland final since 2015 but they’ve looked the likeliest to upset the Cork-Kilkenny duopoly of recent times.
Two years ago, Cork beat Galway by 2-9 to 1-9 in the semi-final and last year Kilkenny edged the Tribeswomen by three points at the penultimate stage. Murray certainly isn’t taking them for granted.
‘Galway are the league champions,’ he says, ‘and they’ve played very well this year.
‘They’ve always produced very good players but, when it has come to the crunch, they have failed to produce.
‘They’ve changed their management team numerous times but they seem very happy with the current one, Cathal Murray comes across as very able.
‘With the level of pressure on Galway on Saturday though, they’ve got to produce, there can’t be any more reasons not to.’
In terms of dealing with the pressure, Cork at least have plenty of experience.
‘We’ve been down this road before and we know what it takes to win,’ Cork boss Murray says.
‘We’ve got to delivery on Saturday, though. There’s very little between Kilkenny and Galway and that would indicate that there’s very little between us and Galway.
‘We’re down Ashling Thompson from last year and if you took the best player out of the Galway team the opposition would fancy themselves.
‘It’s important that the other girls are putting their hands up and looking to take their chance.’