Tuesday 21 August 2018

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Cork players to strike?

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 9:09am

Cork players could pull out of their All-Ireland semi-finals after a fixture clash which has been branded "totally unacceptable".

The threat comes after both semi-finals for the Cork camogie and ladies football teams were scheduled for the same day. The ladies footballers are due to play their All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal on Saturday 18 August, the same day the Cork camogie team’s semi-final clash with Tipperary had already been scheduled for.

The clash means two dual players, Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney, now face the prospect of having to choose between codes.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray said the fact the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) fixtures are released after the camogie schedule is set meant the issue should never have arisen at all.

“There are players with Cork, Tipparary and Galway with dual responsibilities,” he said. “It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out putting one of the football matches on the same weekend as the camogie double-header is asking for trouble.”

The fixture dilemma is the third time in four years Cork players have been faced with such a fixture clash, and Murray admitted “drastic action” may have to be taken:

“It may be a case that both teams might need to withdraw their services on the day to get things moving. There’s no way we will leave two players having to make a decision. No matter what the decision is then, people are going to get hurt.”

Cork ladies football mana Ephie Fitzald said that while he was hoping his team could fulfil the fixture, he would not rule out withdrawing if a solution wasn’t found.

“As it stands I can’t see us going ahead with it, as we just can’t put our players in that situation,” he said. “I wouldn’t take that decision easily, but it’s something we’d have to consider I suppose, down the line. A stand has to be taken.

“Let’s see how it develops. It’s not something I’d rule out, but I hope this will be resolved. We don’t want to make threats, but we want to protect our players.”

Fitzald said the issue showed a “total lack of respect” to players and said he did not accept the suggestion that the football match could not be moved due to television.

“Does TV come ahead of the player?” he said. “That can never be the case, and that’s the question that needs to be asked.”

A statement from the LGFA on Wednesday said: “As things stand, the TG4 All-Ireland senior semi-final between Cork and Donegal will go ahead on Saturday, August 18, as scheduled.”

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