Cork forward Eimear Scally has pleaded with the LGFA to move the date of Cork’s All-Ireland football semi-final so dual players Hannah Looney and Libby Coppinger are not forced to choose one code over the other.
The Cork ladies footballers are due in All-Ireland semi-final action against Donegal on Saturday, August 18, the same day as the Cork camogie team play their All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary (Thurles, 7.15pm). Looney and Coppinger are part of both panels, with the latter picking up the player of the match award for Cork’s facile ladies football quarter-final win over Westmeath on Monday.
Coppinger, speaking to TG4 after the 8-18 to 1-6 hammering of the Lake County on Monday, expressed her hope a resolution could be found so neither she nor Looney was forced to miss either of their All-Ireland semi-finals.
Cork ladies football officials have put in a request so their semi-final does not clash with the county’s camogie semi-final fixture.
“We have a bit of a dilemma with the two. I am just hoping to God something will happen because you never want to be making a decision as a player which one to go to,” said Coppinger.
“Fingers crossed, something will come of it. Myself and Hannah, all you are there for is to give your all to both teams. You don’t want to be having to make the decision.”
Scally, top-scorer against Westmeath with 2-3, has taken to Twitter to bemoan the fact that Looney and Coppinger “are being put second”.
“Without football and the LGFA, there are many things I wouldn’t have experienced in my playing career and with the body that represents the LGFA, they put in terrific work year after year with so many things. Sadly, on this occasion, I feel the association is forgetting about the most important thing - the players,” Scally wrote.
“This dual clash is something that could so easily be avoided and hearing Libby Coppinger speak in her POTM interview made me feel so proud of the player/person that I get to play with week in, week out. It makes me incredibly angry that broadcasting rights are a reason that the players, Libby and Hannah Looney, are being put second, with this fixture clash on the 18th.
"We should be commending dual players, not punishing them by making them choose to play either camogie/football in what will be the biggest game in each code so far this year for them. This happens too often and it shouldn’t be an issue anymore. I hope sense will prevail here.”
The second All-Ireland semi-final, between the winners of this Sunday’s quarter-finals between Galway-Mayo and Dublin-Kerry, is fixed for Saturday, August 25. The respective managers of these four counties have been sounded out as to whether they would consider playing their semi-final on Saturday week and then switching Cork-Donegal to August 25. That is not going to happen such is the quick turnaround they would be faced with and so Looney and Coppinger’s best hope is that the ladies football semi-finals are fixed as a double-header on Saturday, August 25.