Coppinger lament at rule rejection

The LGFA’s decision to reject a motion calling for official recognition of the dual player has been described as “a backward step” by Cork’s Libby Coppinger.

Coppinger lament at rule rejection

The LGFA’s decision to reject a motion calling for official recognition of the dual player has been described as “a backward step” by Cork’s Libby Coppinger.

At Saturday’s LGFA congress, a Dublin motion proposing to write in rule that the LGFA “recognises and supports the concept of a dual player, as defined, and will encourage all of its Units to support and facilitate its playing members of all ages, who wish to do so, to play both Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie” was beaten.

LGFA president-elect Micheál Naughton says the motion was unsuccessful not because of any ill-sentiment towards dual players but rather the “open-ended” wording of the motion.

Cork dual player Coppinger expressed disappointment with the decision taken by Congress. It was, she insisted, “an opportunity missed”.

The Cork ladies footballer and camogie player also took umbrage with the explanation offered by top-brass as to why the motion failed to garner sufficient support.

“I didn’t notice too much about the wording. It seemed simple enough what the motion was trying to achieve, that the two associations were going to try and work together and facilitate dual players as much as they could.

“It just seems like a step backwards, really,” lamented Coppinger, who missed Cork’s Division 1 football league defeat away to Donegal on Sunday as it clashed with the county’s Division 1 camogie fixture at home to Kilkenny.

“We did a WGPA survey on Friday and it came back that 97% were for this motion.”

The three-time All-Ireland medal-winner says the implications of the vote — and the message it sends out — is not confined to inter-county dual players.

“This goes the whole way down to club level. We are a dual club in St Colum’s, and there are plenty more around the country trying to manage the two codes. And when [the two associations] are not working together, it just makes it so much harder for everyone else.

“It was a huge opportunity to make this change, but for whatever reason, they decided against it. It is disappointing. I hope it is not a closed door and that they are not going to talk about it again,”

The weekend just gone was the first of 2020 where Coppinger and fellow Cork dual player Hannah Looney had to choose one code over the other. Such difficulties are not limited to the Cork pair, with Waterford’s Caoimhe McGrath lining out for both the Déise senior camogie and ladies football sides on Saturday, February 1.

And with the revamp of the ladies football championship guaranteeing counties at least five games in the All-Ireland series alone, there will be multiple weekends during the summer where dual players such as Coppinger, Looney, and McGrath will be asked, at the very least, to line out twice on the one weekend.

“It obviously isn’t ideal for your team when you are togging out for the second time in 24 hours, but it is better than a direct clash. I haven’t even looked that far ahead.

“It is just worrying about the next few weeks and getting through the league. Then again, we can’t really worry about the fixtures.

“It is up to the associations to sort that out, to try and make sure there are no clashes. We will hope for the best.”

LGFA president-elect Micheál Naughton has assured dual players the two associations will continue to work together to “accommodate” dual players.

“Basically, if we allowed that motion to go through, with the word facilitate in it, it could hold up all our competitions, right down to club and underage level.

“When we talk about facilitating dual players, we could be talking about basketball or any number of sports that our players also play, not strictly camogie,” Naughton insisted.

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