The key factor in Cork dual start Rena Buckley choosing not to play football this year could be said to have been Inniscarra’s county senior camogie title in 2016, writes Denis Hurley.
That victory meant that Buckley was nominated as Cork captain for the coming year.
Running her own physiotherapy business as well as studying for a Master’s degree in UCD meant that something had to give and the camogie captaincy gave that the edge over football.
Buckley did not feature for Cork ladies in the national league and announced at the weekend that her focus would be on camogie.
“To be honest, I didn’t have any extra time, I was caught with work and study and things like that,” she said.
“There wasn’t enough time in the day. During the league, there’s a lot of travel time for matches and I couldn’t give up my weekends.
“I’m the camogie captain and for this year, I’ll stick with that as I haven’t been with the footballers. I’ll review it again at the end of the year.
“I can’t speak highly enough of [Cork ladies’ football manager] Ephie Fitzgerald. I phone him in early January and I told him that I was studying until May 12, and in fairness he phoned me on May 12. I really appreciated that and he gave me time again after that.”
Buckley was speaking at the launch of the second year of New Ireland Assurance’s sponsorship of the Cork team.
The Rebels begin their All-Ireland championship campaign against Tipperary on Saturday
They go into the game after losses in the league final to Kilkenny and the Munster final against Limerick, as well as All-Ireland defeat to the Cats last September.
Buckley isn’t concerned about a hangover, though.
“We got to the league final and we lost it, we got to the Munster final and we lost it, we realise that we’re a little bit off the mark but we realise as well that we’re not too far away,” she said.
“We’ll just have to put in a little block of training, there’s a new championship starting so that brings a freshness.
“Hopefully we’ve learned from the last two competitions and we can bring that experience into the championship.
“You can put whatever slant you want on it, really. At the end of the day, it was a match in Charleville and Limerick beat us by two points.
“You can take any angle you want, they were fully deserving of their win, we’ll have to look at it and learn from it.”