Twelve points had been scored inside 18 minutes, but only one struck by Cork – an Orla Cotter free – leaving a mountainous 10-point deficit between the Rebels and the three-in-a-row chasing Cats.
Ashling Thompson called that first half “embarrassing”. Coppinger simply labelled it “a complete game of two halves”, as they battled back to ensure a frantic finish, with Kilkenny left clutching onto a 0-15 to 1-11 win at the final whistle.
That half-time dressing room, where the team acknowledged their shortcomings and steeled themselves for a much improved second-half display, will remain with Coppinger as Cork bid to prevent a championship recurrence of such a slow start.
“We just knew we hadn’t given enough. We don’t need management (to tell us), you know yourself when you don’t put in a good performance,” said the St Colum’s star.
“We didn’t really do what we were asked. They wanted us to push on our players and go man-for-man but we let them get the ball and then, ‘oh, we’ll try now’. Hopefully we won’t ever let a team get a lead on us like that again.
All we wanted to do was go out in the second-half and improve on what we were doing wrong in the first-half. Kilkenny just brought the intensity and we didn’t match it for the first-half. We did up it in the second-half.
“We were all well up for the match and looking forward to it. I suppose there was a four-week gap from the last match so… there’s plenty of excuses you can make but hopefully we can figure out a way to never have that happen again.
“Like we were saying, ‘a loss is OK at this time of the year as long as you take something from it’.”
Coppinger had some immediate consolation in taking home a UCC Sport Star Award at a ceremony in the college last night, ahead of switching back to ladies football duty as Cork prepare for their league semi-final against Mayo on the weekend of April 21/22.
Libby Coppinger (Camogie and Ladies Football), Sean Powter (Gaelic Football), Sam Grace (Hockey), Jenny Clein (Hockey), Emma Spillane (Ladies Football), Ciara McNamara (Soccer), Ronan Byrne (Rowing), Jack O’Sullivan (Rugby), John Poland (Rugby), Fionn Lyden (Sailing), Shane Daly Butz (Soccer).