MANY don’t realise the efforts that inter-county players make to wear the red and white of Cork. Group training may generally be in and around two hours but for those not city-based, it’s substantially more.
Having arranged to meet Libby Coppinger ahead of a training session last week I receive a text, ‘Hi Linda, caught in roadworks, on the way’.
Libby was on her way from home in Kealkill. It’s an hour and 15 minutes each way, on a good day.
“I’m used to it, I don’t mind, when there’s no tractors,” laughs the affable 25-year-old.
Working in a granny-flat style outdoor setting at home, Libby is employed by Alter Domus Financial Services. She studied public health in UCC but fell into finance and thoroughly enjoys it.
Having been brought on in the 2016 All-Ireland senior final, which Cork lost, it ruled Libby out of playing Intermediate for 2017. But it was her leg in the senior door.
Now a regular, she has rotated between defence and midfield but she has in recent games made the full-back position her own.
“I’m happy to play wherever I’m placed.
It’s a different mindset than being outfield, it’s to protect the goal at all costs.
"The lads have been great to advise and as a defensive unit we’ve covered each other well I think.”
Holding Katie Power to just two points from play in Cork’s semi-final win over Kilkenny was an outstanding return. Power made numerous attempts to round Libby, but her shadowing and footwork was excellent in preventing Katie from getting near goal.
“I think as a group we are working so hard. Last year was a building one for us and Covid interrupted it all, but I think this year we’ve had the time together and that’s been massive.”
St Colum’s is her club; they play Junior C. Gone are the days when city clubs dominated inter-county Cork teams and camogie is no different but it’s rare to see a player from a Junior C west Cork club represent her county in camogie and it’s something her club must be very proud of while at the same time being an inspiration to many other junior players.
How did it happen?
“Eamonn Ryan [former ladies football manager would come down to Column’s to give us a few training sessions to get us up and running.
“I guess he spotted something and he put feelers out to John Middleton the Cork minor manager at the time (2014), to give me a chance. I was invited along for a trial and got to keep going.”
The rest is history as they say. Ahead of the final: “We’re really just trying to focus on ourselves and what we can do without underestimating the quality side we’re up against.
“We’ve a shorter turnaround since the semi-final but that can be good as you don’t have as much time to think about it.”