She is one of Ireland’s most decorated sports stars with 18 All Ireland’s to her name, yet Rena Buckley still hesitates to credit herself for her success.
The former Cork dual player is one of the six GAA stars featured in the new series of Laochra Gael on TG4 and with a career that spanned almost 15 years, you can understand why the director of the programme had a huge amount of footage to sift through.
Although she was honoured to take part, the modest 32-year-old admitted that it was “unusual” to have people speak about her while she also confessed that she couldn’t point to any moment in particular as a favourite memory.
“It’s a huge honour. I was part of such excellent teams. There are so many people that I’m sure will have shows made of.
“What really stuck out with me was that I’ve been so bloody lucky that we’ve been involved in so many big games. Trying to remember individual moments in each of the games, when it’s put to you to do it, it can be quite difficult.
“Sport is great that way, there’s always another match to look forward to. There was a championship last year that I wasn’t part of and it was a brilliant championship and there’ll be a championship again this year, it’ll be brilliant, and that’s the great thing about sport, it keeps on going, it keeps on giving.”
She may not have been involved in last year’s championship but she was tempted to return having seen her former teammate, Briege Corkery, return for another season.
While there are many aspects of the game that she misses, Buckley concedes that it was time to move on and pass the red jersey to the younger generation.
“Bits of it you certainly would [miss]. The quality of training was class and the competitive games throughout the year was outstanding. That level of high competition constantly was brilliant.
“And then there’s the people that you’re used to meeting every day of the week. You’d miss those personalities and those friendships. But look, life moves on and there’s a kind of a time for everything.
“I just thought that it was time for me to give a bit more time back to the club and I’ll do that for a couple of years and I suppose go into administration or coaching.”
And she has given plenty back to the club since hanging up her inter-county boots, helping her camogie team, Inniscarra to reach the All Ireland semi-final where they were beaten by St Martins of Wexford.
Should she decide to follow a career in coaching, Buckley may find the game changed as a number of camogie players have called for amendments to the camogie rules of late, to reflect the more physical nature of the game.
Buckley admits that there are certain aspects of the rules that she would like to see changed but concedes that camogie is “super” as it is.
“Games are always evolving and players strength and physical fitness has improved, because of that the rules will have to change at some point.
“Personally, I’d like if they took out the handpass goal, I think we shouldn’t be allowed to handpass a goal. I suppose it’s difficult to define a tackle, it’s interpreted differently on big days which is probably the most frustrating thing, it’s not exactly the rulebook. If you’re prepping to play a certain way, and then on the day it’s penalised, that probably gives players the most frustration.
“I think the game we have in camogie is super, probably there should be a couple of changes made to it.”
The acclaimed Laochra Gael returns for a 17th series and the season continues with the story of Cork’s Rena Buckley, on Wednesday, March 6 at 9.30pm on TG4.