Cork's Rena Buckley announces inter-county retirement
Dual-star won a record 18 All-Ireland titles and 10 All Stars during a glittering career
Rena Buckley lifts the O’Duffy Cup in 2017. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Rena Buckley, the most decorated Gaelic sportsperson in history, has announced her retirement from the inter-county game at the age of 31.
Holder of 18 All-Ireland medals, including from the six years when she was a double winner in both camogie and football, she also last year became the first person to captain their county to All-Ireland titles in both codes when leading Cork to victory over Kilkenny in camogie, having captained the footballers in the 2012 win over Kerry.
Ironically for someone whose county career began with an All-Ireland defeat when Tipperary beat Cork in the 2004 camogie final, it would be one of only four losses in 22 finals.
As a member of the exceptional football team from the county, Buckley racked up five-in-a-row All-Irelands from 2004-09 and then six in succession between 2011 and ‘16. At the same time, she was part of an extraordinarily successful camogie generation, winning on six occasions, 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘09, 2014, ‘15 and ‘17.
She also has 10 All Stars from a career that saw her play an influential role in central positions in football and as an accomplished camogie defender, at wing and corner back.
In 2015, she and team mate Briege Corkery broke the record for individual All-Ireland medals, overtaking the 15 won by Dublin camogie player Kay Mills. Corkery sat out last season and missed out on the seventh camogie medal, won by Buckley, who had herself retired from football.
The two record holders had their achievement recognised a couple of months later in The Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year 2015 award, which was made jointly for the first time.
Reporting on the event, Malachy Clerkin wrote: “Buckley was the dominant midfielder of the year in football and didn’t concede a single score to the players she marked in the knock-out stages of the camogie championship.”
Further individual recognition came in nominations for the RTE Sports Star of the Year in both 2015 and last year. In the former year Rena Buckley was also a winner of the UCD Physiotherapy Alumni Award and last year completed her masters degree, MSc in physiotherapy in the college.
From Inniscarra, for whom she intends to continue playing camogie - her football club is Donoughmore - she told the Irish Independent: “For a long number of years, I’ve given sport a huge chunk of my time. I’ve arrived at the stage of my life now where I have other commitments, other things I want to do. And I have to make the choice.
“It’s not like I want to travel the world, or make massive changes in my life. But I want the chance to give more of my time to the people in my life.”