Cork ladies football manager Ephie Fitzgerald has slammed the treatment of dual star Libby Coppinger, who is facing the possibility of lining out in All-Ireland championship games in two codes on Saturday.
Coppinger’s day will begin with an All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final against Galway at 12.30pm (at a venue to be decided), while she is also in the Cork camogie squad taking on the Tribeswomen in a championship semi-final in Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds at 7pm. Both games will be broadcast by TG4 and RTÉ respectively.
Fitzgerald yesterday criticised the ladies football and camogie top brass for their decision to play both games on the same day.
He told Cork’s RedFM: “I think it is an absolute disgrace. Libby travels the bones of 100 miles a night at her own expense to get to training for camogie and football, only to be treated like this? I can’t for the life of me see how an athlete can be asked to play one match at half twelve and another at seven.
“We contacted them officially, and were told because of television commitments, the games couldn’t change.
“Libby is one of the most committed players I’ve ever met, never complains just gets on with it, trains hard and never misses a session. It really is a disgrace. She’s a very valued member of our squad as well as camogie. Players must come first and that doesn’t seem to be the case now.”
Both of the governing bodies said they were not in a position to re-arrange the fixtures due to television scheduling arrangements.
A Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) spokesperson said: “The ladies football fixtures were set last November and ratified by all counties. Our fixtures are set this early to give our counties clarity as to when they will be playing and allowing them to plan accordingly. This was at the request of our counties. We worked closely with the Camogie Association to avoid clashes, where possible. All of our remaining TG4 All-Ireland SFC fixtures will be televised, meaning that no fixtures can be changed at this point.”
A Camogie Association spokesperson said: “The Camogie Association’s 2017 fixtures have been fixed and published since November 2016 to enable provinces and counties to plan their fixtures, accordingly. These fixtures were developed in consultation with camogie counties and provinces and the LGFA to best avoid fixture clashes, where possible. Due to live television commitments, unfortunately, it is not possible to re-arrange our upcoming semi-final fixtures.”
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