In our new series, ‘Showcase your Sport’, in association with the Irish Federation of Sport, we will be giving you a thorough insight into some of the most fascinating sports we have in Ireland.
This week, our focus is on Camogie, and taking part in our Q&A is seven-time All-Ireland winner and Cork legend, Rena Buckley.
Earliest memory of playing camogie?
My earliest memories of playing camogie are playing with hurleys miles too big for us in the garden at home. I remember getting those ‘massive’ hurleys as presents from our childminder Sheila Buckley. I also remember the second batch we got which were much smaller and easier to handle. We had hours of enjoyment at home with them.
Who was your hero growing up?
Growing up my GAA hero was Teddy McCarthy. He was after winning the double with Cork in 1990 so he had a magical presence.
Irene O’Keeffe played camogie with Cork and is from my club Inniscarra. My mother taught her in school so she had to talk to me! She was my first camogie hero and I loved going to watch her and the Cork team in Croke Park.
What was your typical match-day routine?
My match day routine would start by making sure I get plenty of sleep during the week of a big match. The day before I’d make sure to have eaten enough-carb loading as they call it.
Then the day of the game I’d get up early, definitely wouldn’t sleep in. I’d have all my meals planned for the day so I’d prepare them and any pre, mid or post-match snacks. If I’ve time for a nap before the game, better again.
I’d make sure to arrive at the grounds over an hour beforehand so I have time for mobility and activation work. I don’t have an interest in lucky socks or anything else and I pay no heed to where I sit in the dressing room. If the warm-up goes well, great, if it doesn’t it doesn’t really matter. The game is what counts.
Who was your toughest opponent?
Eimear McDonnell from Tipperary. She was a camogie wizard, you couldn’t keep your eye on her.
Is there any defeat that still lingers in the back of your mind?
Wexford in the 2007 All Ireland, we’d a great team but Wexford outplayed us.
What do you miss most about playing inter-county camogie?
I miss the intensity of training all year round. Every game and training session was crucial and I loved that.
What would you like to see done to improve and grow the sport?
I’d like to see more top coaches get involved with camogie teams all across the country. I’d like to see our national media cover more camogie matches and properly preview and analyse our games.
I’d like to see county boards and Croke Park promote our games more. I’d like for all members of the Gaelic games family to work more closely at all levels. I’d like more to attend our games. I’d like to see sponsorship deals cover men’s and women’s teams.
Proudest moment from camogie career?
Captaining the honest and hard-working people that made up the Cork team in Croke Park in 2017 was a very proud moment for me, my family, my club, and my county. Accepting the cup on behalf of Cork was magic.
Advice to young players?
Enjoy camogie completely – the friends, the team, the competition, the skills, the athleticism, the community, the discipline, the highs, the lows, and the craic.