They don’t come more modest than Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery.
The Cork dual pair wrote their names into Irish sporting history when capturing their 15th All-Ireland senior medal on Sunday afternoon, joining Dubliner Kathleen Mills as the most decorated sportswomen in the GAA.
When the achievement was relayed to Buckley in the long corridor underneath the Hogan Stand that history had been created on the Croke Park turf, the Cork wing-back quickly sidestepped the spotlight and instead turned the focus on what this title meant to Cork.
“Yeah, I think Cork have the same number of All-Irelands as Dublin now at the top of roll of honour,” she remarked.
When pushed on the matter, Buckley again downplayed the remarkable achievement.
“Oh, myself and Briege,” she says, “we have 30 now altogether. Fifteen each. You wouldn’t really think about that when the final whistle goes, though.
“Every year is a new year. The cup is there to be won again. I love playing and I absolutely love being here. Every year you get a chance to be here and you try your absolute best to be here.
“If you are thinking about records and let that stuff get to you, it is a distraction. That is something you can look back on when you are older.”
Given the panel had been considerably weakened by the loss of big-name players Jenny O’Leary, Anna Geary, Joanne O’Callaghan and Angela Walsh during the off-season, did she believe she would have to wait for the ladies football decider to have a realistic chance of securing All-Ireland medal number 15?
“At the start of the year we were afraid to open a text because it was retirement after retirement. We weren’t sure what way the year would go. We improved steadily throughout the season and we are delighted to be back here again. We were delighted to get to the final and then to win it.
“Time keeps going, time waits for no one. People get older and new players have to come in. New players are coming in and it is great for Ladies GAA in Cork.
“Leanne O’Sullivan and Méabh Cahalane, two of the new girls who came in this year in the defence, had very good games. They didn’t put a foot wrong. They held the head and we are delighted with them.”
Down the corridor, Briege Corkery was reliving that game-changing strike.
“This goal is gas,” quips the Cork full-forward of her 54th minute major. “As Paudie Murray said, he put his two hands on his head when he saw me going for goal. It just fell into my path and I went for it.
“We had been practising goals at training and I just tried my best to slot it. I didn’t really slot it, it just dribbled in. I nearly had to blow it across the line. It went in and that’s all that matters. I didn’t do a tap for the rest of the game, only that. We scored a point straight after and that settled us. Never did I think we would be back here this year after all the retirements last year.”
Similar to her dual colleague, Corkery was keen to play down the significance of her historic medal count.
“We won’t look at it that way for another couple of years, it won’t be until we are old and crippled which will probably only be another five years. That is something we will look back on then.”
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