Coppinger has no regrets about putting college before county

Libby Coppinger.

Dual star Libby Coppinger has spoken about the difficulties of getting dragged into a high-profile college versus county row between the managers of the Cork senior camogie team and UCC’s women’s football side.

Coppinger was one of three Cork camogie players caught in a bind when camogie’s Division One semi-finals clashed with the final weekend of the O’Connor Cup, the climax of the third-level women’s Gaelic football season.

Camogie boss Paudie Murray and UCC manager Shane Ronayne became engaged in a very public spat over player allegiance and each accused the other of using threats to try to force the players to line out for them.

Meabh Cahalane and Hannah Looney opted to play inter-county camogie while Coppinger lined out for her university and she said yesterday that, faced with the same decision, she would not alter it.

“I was happy with my decision. It was a very hard one but I was happy to play with the college,” she said.

“It was just a real pity that there was a clash because you never want to choose one or the other,” said the Cork dual star who benefits from a sports scholarship scheme at UCC.

“It was hard because the (third level) colleges only have two weekends in the year,” she added.

“In one way it might have been easier for us players if someone said ‘look, you have to do this and this!’ — to be told what you had to do, but I don’t know who could have said that,” she said.

In another way, it was good that I was able to make my own decision. Then you only have yourself to blame.

Coppinger remains part of the Cork camogie squad who play Kilkenny in the Division One camogie decider on April 8 and said: “I will keep going with the two (sports) and hopefully they just won’t clash too much.”

She was one of 37 female inter-county players who received third-level scholarships yesterday from the Women’s Gaelic Players Association in assocation with ICON and PwC.

Cork’s Eimear Meaney, Melissa Duggan and Orla Cronin were also among them as was Clare footballer Laurie Ryan, a PhD science student in the University of Limerick who also won the inaugural ‘Young Leader of the Year’ award.

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