WHILE the absence of Rena Buckley for the first time in two decades will certainly be Cork’s loss in 2018, she’s hoping that her clubs Inniscarra and Donoughmore will gain.
Buckley, who captained Cork to the All-Ireland camogie title last year – her 18th senior medal across camogie and ladies’ football – announced her retirement earlier this week.
Though the intercounty scene will be poorer without here, she will still be marauding the club fields, aiming to help Inniscarra to a third straight county camogie title and looking to revive Donoughmore’s fortunes.
‘I am hoping so,’ she says.
‘Donoughmore didn’t put out a team last year and I actually didn’t get to play the championship at all the year before and that’s definitely something positive to be back in the loop there.
‘I have been to more Inniscarra training sessions this year than I have ever done in all my days. I would be hoping that is a positive thing for them!’
Buckley didn’t feature for Cork in the national league as she contemplated her options and, when she found she didn’t miss it, she made the call.
‘I suppose I would have had thoughts about it at the start of last year, as well as the start of 2017,’ she says.
‘The way it panned out with Inniscarra winning the county in 2016 and with captaincy, I felt like it was a huge honour and one not to be over-looked.
‘I went back last year and put my heart and soul into it. I suppose I knew from the start of this year, that I didn’t have the same grá to go back playing. I was coming to the conclusion that if you didn’t have that madness to play, you are probably not going to do yourself justice on the field.
‘So it was kind of a gradual process but I had an inkling that it was coming at the same time.’
Unlike so many, she has gone out at the top, something which made the decision easier. ‘I would be lying to say that it wouldn’t,’ she says.
‘I certainly would have been very content last year, I felt I really did my very best.
‘I think that is a much easier note to leave on than if you hadn’t quite performed on the day, or if things went wrong for yourself, or if you were injured towards the end of the year, or something like that.
‘I am quite content with how things finished up and that’s important because I suppose you invest so much emotionally over the years, and it’s nice to have that bit of contentment at the end.’
Though still only 31, Buckley has a lot of miles on the clock and she didn’t want her retirement to be drawn out. ‘I’m not in my early 20s anymore,’ she says. ‘I would have known you can’t stay going forever and if it wasn’t this year, it would be next year.
‘I would have known it wasn’t far away and I am quite content from that point of view.
‘I did have discussions with the Cork camogie management, and the football management to be fair, and we went through things.
‘It was a decision I had to make for myself. They were very understanding and there is mutual respect there for sure.”
This summer, she will be a fan while a busy physiotherapy clinic in Macroom will keep her occupied. She won’t be short of activity, certainly. ‘I will be supporting the teams, definitely,’ she says. ‘I don’t have any holiday booked or anything like that.
‘It’s not a motivating factor for me to be honest; I am happy enough to stay around for the summer.
‘I’m a good person to fill time so I can’t imagine I would be sitting at home, drinking tea; I’d say I will be kept going.’