Fixture clash sparks disgust as Cork dual stars are caught in middle

Libby Coppinger and Meabh Cahalane prevented from lining out for both camogie and ladies football teams as both games are scheduled in six-hour window
Fixture clash sparks disgust as Cork dual stars are caught in middle

Dilemma: Libby Coppinger of Cork will play in the provincial football final this Saturday but a fixture clash prevents her from playing for the county's camogie team. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

There is disgust and disappointment in the Cork camogie and ladies football camps at the scheduling of fixtures on the same day this weekend that is preventing dual players Libby Coppinger and Meabh Cahalane from lining out for both teams.

The Cork ladies footballers are in Munster final action against Kerry early on Saturday afternoon (Fitzgerald Stadium, 12.15pm), while at 6pm that evening in Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork entertain Clare in Group 1 of the All-Ireland camogie championship.

Coppinger and Cahalane are starters on both teams, but given the proximity of the two games, neither manager is willing to stand over the pair playing two championship games in the space of six hours. Instead, Coppinger will play in the provincial football final, while Cahalane will line out for the camogie side.

Cork camogie manager Matthew Twomey has hit out at the unfairness of the scheduling, especially when this clash was flagged by the county three weeks ago.

The fixing of the Cork-Kerry ladies football game as the curtain-raiser to the men’s Munster football final meant it would have to be the standalone camogie fixture that was switched to the Sunday in order to avoid the two games being played on the one day. But given the Clare camogie team also houses a dual player - Niamh O’Dea, switching the Clare-Cork camogie game to Sunday was a non-runner as the Clare footballers are away to Down in the All-Ireland intermediate championship on the same day.

Efforts were made by Cork officials to have the Clare-Down football game brought forward to Saturday, so as to enable the camogie game to be played on Sunday, but any change of fixture must be subject to agreement between both counties. And when Clare and Down were contacted, “both requested to stay with the original Sunday, May 29 date”, according to an LGFA spokesperson.

The GPA were also contacted in a bid to find a resolution that did not involve Cahalane sitting out the Munster final and Coppinger a key camogie championship fixture.

Both the Camogie Association and the LGFA passed motions this year and last to formally recognise dual players and to “endeavour to facilitate them as far as is practicable.” Despite this, however, the Cork dual pair once again find themselves at the centre of a fixtures clash.

Coppinger, speaking to this newspaper last year before a similar clash was resolved, said “we are not asking for much, we are just asking for 24 hours between games”.

Cork camogie boss Twomey recalled a championship weekend back in 2015 when Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley were faced with two games on the same afternoon, remarking how maddening it is that dual players are still being affected by poor scheduling seven years on.

“I feel sorry for Libby and Meabh,” Twomey told the Examiner. "It is very disappointing that in this day and age, this is still happening. I am disgusted with it. I am involved at inter-county level for a good number of years now and things haven't changed.

“Libby and Meabh are just very disappointed. They want to play both, they don't want to leave anyone down. Management made the decision as to who plays which game; we kept the girls out of it.”

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