Galway’s Rebecca Hennelly’s incredible journey back from the brink

Galway’s Rebecca Hennelly will relish this week’s historic camogie All-Star tour in Madrid, Spain, more than most. 

Rebecca Hennelly. Pic: Sportsfile

The Ardrahan star, who was honoured for her defensive displays last year, has fought back from two cruciate ligament tears to be a leading light on the county side.

“I think I was 17 the first time I did the cruciate. I didn’t really know anyone who had done it that time, so I didn’t really do enough work on it. It went in the club championship the second time a few years later. I knew more about what was required in terms of the rehab. I did a lot of work and then came back stronger and better than ever.

“It is an incredible journey. It’s mad looking back and I still find it hard to believe I have an All-Star.

“It’s sitting at home in the press. I’m looking at it thinking: ‘I’d love a couple more to appear,’ but the main thing is you want a couple of All-Irelands on the starting team.”

Hennelly will be joined on the tour to the Spanish capital by her county team-mates Ailish O’Reilly and Aoife Donohue, who were selected on this year’s All-Star side. All are excited by the prospect of mixing with their usual rivals.

“I’ve been talking to a few of the Kilkenny women and a few of my own from Galway. It’s unbelievable. You’ll never get anything like this the first trip, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s great to get to know the rest of the girls. I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other girls and playing the match. I haven’t picked up a hurl now in a few weeks, so I’ll get going again.”

While Galway’s camogie season ended in a narrow semi-final defeat to eventual champions Cork, their male counterparts secured the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the first time in 29 years.

Hennelly’s club-mate, Jonathan Glynn, commuted from the US to play his part in their All-Ireland success and Hennelly admitted it has motivated the camogie squad to go a couple of steps further in 2018.

“It was unbelievable excitement. Jonathan has been living over in New York for the last year, year-and-a-half. It was brilliant for the club. Whenever he comes home, the kids are just going mad whenever they see him down on the pitch.

“The kids now are all in Galway jerseys. They don’t take them off. I’d say the hurlers don’t get a minute’s peace, to be honest. It’s bringing a massive buzz to the county.

“All the camogie players are fairly jealous this year now. Hopefully, we’ll get up there next year, and see what happens.”


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