Dual player Orla O’Dwyer will line out for the Tipperary camogie team this Saturday, but will miss the county’s last-four ladies football game on the same day as no reprieve to the All-Ireland semi-final fixtures clash could be found.
The Tipperary ladies footballers are in All-Ireland intermediate semi-final action this Saturday, against Sligo, at Nowlan Park (3pm), with the Tipperary camogie side taking on Kilkenny in the All-Ireland senior semi-final at LIT Gaelic Grounds (5.30pm).
The Tipperary ladies footballers requested their semi-final be put back a week to avoid O’Dwyer having to choose between codes, but when this request was not acceded to, the football management took the decision out of O’Dwyer’s hands and released her to play camogie this Saturday.
Tipperary ladies football manager Shane Ronayne said the county board flagged this potential clash as far back as January and is disappointed it was not sorted in time so as to allow O’Dwyer line out for both teams in their respective bid for an All-Ireland final berth.
“We have released Orla to the camogie. We just felt that was the right thing to do. We made that call once we knew the games weren't going to be changed,” Ronayne told the Examiner.
“The only issue we have is that it is very unfair on Orla, very disappointing for Orla. We have a very strong panel in the football so we are ploughing ahead but I think it is very unfair on the girl because she has given a great commitment to both teams. It is disappointing for her teammates that Orla won't be with them on Saturday.
“Niamh Lillis (Tipperary camogie manager) told me they had said it to the Camogie Association a couple of weeks ago that there could be a clash. Going much further back, though, the Tipperary ladies football secretary contacted the LGFA in January to outline this could happen.
“Because we were relegated from senior last year, we were seen as one of the favourites for the All-Ireland and so there was a high possibility we would get to an All-Ireland semi-final. We have always been planning towards getting to an All-Ireland semi-final so we wanted to flag it with them early. There hasn't been any movement, however, and there won't be at this stage.”
Last year, Cork dual players Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney faced a similar dilemma as their All-Ireland camogie semi-final was scheduled for the same day as the county’s All-Ireland ladies football semi-final. Their football opponents Donegal agreed for the game to be postponed by a week and this year, to ensure a similar clash did not again arise, the LGFA fixed both their senior semi-finals for the week after the penultimate round of the camogie championship.
Ronayne expressed frustration that the intermediate football semi-finals weren’t also shifted from the camogie semi-finals weekend.
“They’ve sorted the senior, but it was a bit remiss of them to forget that Tipperary could have been involved in a senior camogie semi-final and an intermediate ladies football semi-final.
“The dual player is a dying breed but what they do is something that should be applauded. Orla, Hannah Looney and Libby Coppinger are great ambassadors for ladies sport. It is unfortunate this weekend that Orla had to make a choice. We made it easier for her as we took the choice out of her hands.
“Hopefully, both teams will win on Saturday and we'll have two All-Irelands one week after another to look forward to.”