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All-Ireland semi switch-up means nightmare clash avoided for Cork dual stars

The LGFA have switched Cork’s last four meeting with Donegal to 25 August.

CORK’S ALL-IRELAND SENIOR football championship semi-final has been switched to 25 August, alleviating a nightmare fixture clash for dual players.

original Cork dual players Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney.

Their last four clash against Donegal and the camogie side’s All-Ireland semi-final date with Tipperary were both penciled in for 18 August leaving Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney in an awkward situation.

Key players to both sides, Coppinger and Looney luckily no longer have to tog out for two inter-county fixtures in one day — or make a big decision.

Last month, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) and Camogie Association released a joint statement highlighting the potential clash, confirming that both would stick to their plans because of TV coverage.

But the LGFA have this afternoon released another statement confirming that both of their All-Ireland senior championship semi-finals will take place on Saturday, 25 August.

Ephie Fitzgerald’s Cork go head-to-head with Ulster champions Donegal at 2.45pm while the winners of the remaining quarter-final fixtures — Dublin v Kerry and Mayo v Galway — will face off at 4.30pm.

“The LGFA flagged the potential of a dual clash involving Cork a number of weeks ago,” they wrote. “And that came to pass when the county’s footballers qualified for the All-Ireland semi-final, which was scheduled for August 18.

Libby Coppinger and Rachel Dillon Coppinger in action in last week's quarter-final win. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“In light of this, the LGFA carefully reviewed arrangements and worked extremely hard behind the scenes in recent days to find a compromise.”

Paudie Murray’s camogie side meet Tipperary with an All-Ireland final spot on the line as part of a Semple Stadium double-header on 18 August (throw-in 7.15pm).

Here’s the full statement the LGFA released this afternoon, with comment from their CEO Helen O’Rourke:

“The Ladies Gaelic Football Association can confirm the following arrangements for the forthcoming TG4 All-Ireland intermediate and senior semi-finals.

“Tyrone will play Sligo in the first of the 2018 TG4 All-Ireland intermediate semi-finals on Saturday, August 18.

“A week later, Saturday August 25 at 1pm, the second intermediate semi-final will be played, featuring the winners of the Clare v Meath and Roscommon v Laois quarter-final fixtures, which are down for decision tomorrow (August 11).

“The LGFA is also in a position to confirm that both senior championship semi-finals will now be played on Saturday, August 25 at 2.45pm and 4.30pm.

“Cork will play Donegal at 2.45pm and the winners of the remaining quarter-final fixtures – Dublin v Kerry and Galway v Mayo – will feature in the other semi-final at 4.30pm.

“The LGFA flagged the potential of a dual clash involving Cork a number of weeks ago, and that came to pass when the county’s footballers qualified for the All-Ireland semi-final, which was scheduled for August 18.

“In light of this, the LGFA carefully reviewed arrangements and worked extremely hard behind the scenes in recent days to find a compromise.

“LGFA CEO Helen O’Rourke commented: “We announced the times and dates of our summer fixtures schedule last March, when it was clearly stated that our All-Ireland senior semi-finals would be played on August 18 and August 25.

“We stated at the time that finding suitable times for our televised fixtures proved extremely challenging, and that we felt restricted to a large degree, due to the GAA’s new, condensed fixtures schedule.

“When Cork qualified for the TG4 All-Ireland senior semi-final last weekend, a dual fixtures clash arose but, as an Association, we took it upon ourselves to find a solution suitable to all parties.

“It should be noted at this point that altering a fixtures schedule so late in the season has a significant knock-on effect and impact on club and county players in other counties, and that we had to negotiate a number of logistical and contractual issues on this occasion before arriving at this solution.

“It should also be pointed out that personal plans relating to some individuals, around previously confirmed holiday arrangements and family occasions, were also considered and factored into exhaustive discussions with various stakeholders.

“We would like to thank Donegal for agreeing to play their semi-final a week later, on August 25, and to our championship sponsors and broadcast partners TG4, who have had to revise a number of plans to accommodate this change.

“We would like to wish all of our counties competing in the senior, intermediate and junior championships the very best of luck for the remainder of their respective campaigns, and we look forward to seeing big crowds present for the games between now and finals day on September 16 at Croke Park.”

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Emma Duffy

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