Monday, 21 October, 2019

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Rebel legend Buckley still winning on the double

Rena Buckley is well used to busy weekends inside the whitewash, but she’d have been forgiven for thinking, when hanging up the red jersey, that the days of playing two games in the space of 24 hours were behind her.

The 18-time All-Ireland medal winner, who retired from the inter-county scene in May 2018, rolled back the years last weekend. Buckley lined out at centre-back on the Inniscarra camogie team which edged past Killeagh in the Cork senior semi-final replay on Friday evening.

She kicked 1-5 for the Donoughmore ladies footballers the following afternoon as they overcame Kilcummin in the Munster junior club quarter-final at Rathmore.

It was the second time in the space of a fortnight the 10-time All Star had played two games in such quick succession.

On the evening of Saturday, September 21, she was among the scorers during Inniscarra’s county quarter-final win over St Catherine’s, swapping codes the following afternoon as Donoughmore — a side very much in rebuilding mode — defeated Valley Rovers in the Cork junior ladies football decider.

Buckley is one of a number of players involved with both panels and they have another busy weekend ahead of them as further county silverware and a Munster final place are at stake.

Friday evening at Mallow (8.15pm throw-in), Donoughmore face Limerick’s Old Mill in the Munster junior semi-final, while on Sunday (4pm), Inniscarra bid to complete a four-in-a-row of Cork senior camogie titles.

No question but it is a small help that this weekend’s games are not being played on successive days.

“I’m not being critical when I say that you’d like if the games were more spaced out as I do fully appreciate that when you get to this stage of the year, the number of weekends to run off all the matches is getting tighter and tighter,” said Buckley.

The busy schedule, I am used to it from my time with Cork and I know how privileged we are that both teams are still going at this stage of the year.

“With Donoughmore (four-time All-Ireland senior club finalists during the noughties), I suppose we didn’t have an easy few years of late and dropped down through the grades, but it was brilliant to win the county and we are delighted to be challenging for a place in the Munster final.”

On the camogie front, Buckley knows the four in a row will be hard earned. Having been involved in the 2014 decider, which they lost to Milford, Sunday will be Inniscarra’s fifth county final appearance in six years.

“We have been consistent, no question, but if you look at the winning margin in each of the county finals, they’ve nearly been getting smaller and smaller each year as it is just so tough to retain that title.

“Sarsfields haven’t won it since the ’80s, I believe, so they will be ravenous.”

Buckley added: “I went straight from being a Cork minor to a Cork senior and while we had a fantastic run, I am really enjoying playing these days and my focus being solely on the club. Hopefully, we can keep it going for another few weeks.”

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